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Military offensive in Ma'rib seems to be Houthi priority not truce: US special envoy on Yemen
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 12 - 03 - 2021

A "sound plan" for a ceasefire in Yemen has been presented to the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, the US special envoy on Yemen, Tim Lenderking, said on Friday, stressing that Saudi Arabia's support is important and crucial for the US mission in Yemen.
"We now have a sound plan for a nationwide ceasefire with elements that would immediately address Yemen's dire humanitarian situation directly," Lenderking said. "That plan has been before the Houthi leadership for a number of days."
The US special envoy, who returned to the US after a 17-day visit to the region, made the remarks during his address at the Atlantic Council think tank.
Lenderking said he has received all the support from the Arab Coalition in Yemen.
The US envoy also said the priority for the Houthi militia appears to be its offensive to take Ma'rib rather than the truce offer, warning that without progress in the ceasefire, "Yemen will enter into greater conflict and instability."
Lenderking added that the US has resumed funding for humanitarian aid to northern Yemen.
On Tuesday, the US special envoy called on the Houthi militia to stop attacks on Saudi Arabia.
"We urge the Houthis to stop their advance toward Ma'rib, stop their attacks on Saudi Arabia, and return to negotiations," Lenderking said during a press conference.
He stressed that his country "will not allow the Houthis to target Saudi Arabia," stressing the need to strengthen the Kingdom's capabilities in order to defend itself. He also noted that the Houthi attacks on civilian targets show that they do not want peace.
The US special envoy to Yemen said that the Iranians are playing a very negative role in Yemen, calling on Tehran to stop the deadly support for the Houthi militia.
Lenderking revealed that the US is "actively" using back channels to communicate with Houthi militia leaders in Yemen, stressing that diplomacy is the best way to solve the crisis in Yemen.
The US special envoy to Yemen expressed his hope to build international support to reach a lasting political solution while providing relief to the Yemeni people, stressing that there is an urgent need to solve the conflict in Yemen and coordinate humanitarian efforts there. — Agencies

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