US: Houthis continue to refuse to hold meaningful ceasefire talks

US special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking met Yemeni, Saudi and GCC officials last week

2F883MF Berlin, Germany. 12th Apr, 2021. US Special Envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking in a press conference. Credit: John Macdougall/AFP-Pool/dpa/Alamy Live News

Yemen's Houthi rebels keep refusing to engage meaningfully in talks to end the conflict, the US special envoy for the country has said.

Only through a durable agreement between the Yemeni parties can the humanitarian crisis in the country be reversed, Tim Lenderking said on Saturday.

In a renewed push for a ceasefire, he met senior officials from the Yemeni and Saudi governments and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

Fierce ground battles have spread and the Iran-backed rebels have resumed cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia after a brief lull during the Eid Al Adha holidays.

The UAE condemned the recent attempts by the Houthi militia to target civilian areas and objects in the Khamis Mushayt region in Saudi Arabia, and urged the international community to take an immediate and decisive stance to stop the attacks.

The conflict broke out in 2015 when the Houthis took over the capital Sanaa and much of the north-west.

Saudi Arabia has been since then leading a coalition to support the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

The Houthis, who hold much of northern Yemen, have also continued a ground offensive in Yemen's Marib region.

Unity government

During his meetings with Yemeni officials, Mr Lenderking called for the Yemeni government and Southern Transitional Council to come together to improve services and stabilise the economy.

Last December, the Saudi-led coalition brokered the formation of a new Cabinet that included members of the STC.

Mr Lenderking has also discussed immediate measures that must be taken to ease the humanitarian and economic crises, including increasing fuel imports, ending manipulation of fuel and prices, and arranging more economic and humanitarian aid for the country.

More than 110,000 people have been killed in the fighting. It has led to the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with millions on the brink of famine, the UN said.

The conflict has also left the country even more vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated: August 1st 2021, 2:59 PM
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