US welcomes 'remarkable progress' in Yemen after meetings with UN envoy

Secretary of State and National Security Adviser meet Hans Grundberg in Washington

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg met a host of high-level US officials this week. Reuters
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The US welcomes the progress made towards peace in Yemen and remains committed to ending the war, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has told the UN official working for a permanent ceasefire in the country.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg met a host of high-level US officials this week, including Mr Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Washington “welcomed the remarkable progress since the UN-mediated truce first went into effect in April of last year”, the White House said in a readout of the Monday meeting between Mr Sullivan and Mr Grundberg.

Mr Sullivan also said this was the “quietest period” Yemenis have experienced since the war began.

The conflict in Yemen erupted in September 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels stormed the capital Sanaa, deposing the internationally recognised government.

In April 2022, the UN helped to broker a truce, which has helped to quell the fighting and brought a modicum of stability.

Last month, Saudi Arabia and the Houthis agreed to a major prisoner swap, in which nearly 1,000 detainees were exchanged in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“This is the best opportunity for peace since the war began,” US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said earlier this month.

Washington said it was working with Saudi Arabia and other regional partners to take “whatever steps possible” to help create a “durable peace”.

But it added that Iran, which continues to back the Houthis, remained a “concern”.

“Iran's malign influence in the region, their backing of rebel forces continues to be a concern for us,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said on Tuesday.

Updated: May 16, 2023, 7:10 PM