US envoy on visit to Aden urges Yemenis to 'come together' to end conflict

Tim Lenderking discussed Houthi offensive in Marib and international aid with Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Saeed

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
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US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen on Monday visited Aden, the seat of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, for the first time.

Tim Lenderking and Cathy Westley, the charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Yemen, met Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Saeed, Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak and Aden Governor Ahmed Lamlas.

Mr Lenderking told them “now is the time for all Yemenis to come together to end this war and enact bold reforms to revive the economy, counter corruption and alleviate suffering”, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

During their conversations, the US delegation and the Yemeni government also discussed how the Iran-backed Houthi rebels' offensive on Marib “is exacerbating the humanitarian situation and obstructing peace".

“The US government calls on regional and other countries to increase economic support for Yemen, noting that improving basic services and economic opportunity is an important step to building a stronger foundation for peace,” Mr Price said.

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has backed Yemen’s government against the Houthis, but the Biden administration withdrew offensive military support for the campaign this year.

The US has backed a Saudi-proposed ceasefire and Mr Lenderking has tried to convince the Houthis to sign on to the agreement, so far to no avail.

Instead, the Houthis have continued the assault on Yemen’s oil-rich Marib province amid continued Saudi air strikes.

“The visit comes at a time when Yemenis are suffering from extreme economic instability as well as security threats,” Mr Price said.

He said the US delegation also “urged the Yemeni government to continue to strengthen internal co-ordination, including with the Southern Transitional Council and other groups".

Mr Lenderking’s visit to Aden comes after he met Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar, and the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al Jaber, in Washington last week.

They discussed the conflict, fuel imports into the Yemeni port city Hodeidah and the resumption of commercial flights to Yemen.

Updated: November 09, 2021, 6:30 AM