Washington: The “sound plan” for a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen has been in place for many days before the Houthi leadership’s “day plan”, but the organization seems to be prioritizing a military offensive to take over the U.S. Yemen envoy Marib, Tim Randkin, said Friday.
“I will return immediately when the Houthis are prepared to talk,” Lenderking told the Atlantic Council think tank after a 17-day visit to the region to revive efforts to end the six-year conflict that is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“The U.S. and U.N. – we urge the Houthis to respond,” he said. “If we cannot make progress now, the country will spiral into greater conflict and instability.”
A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-allied Houthi group ousted the country s government from the capital Sanaa. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.
“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.”
He did not provide more details and said that the plan was supported by Saudi Arabia.
However, despite the international community’s call for them to stop the guidance, Houthi still suppressed the natural gas-rich Marib region with the aim of seizing the government’s last stronghold in the north. The United Nations warned that millions of civilians are in danger.
“Tragically, and somewhat confusingly for me, it appears that the Houthis are prioritizing a military campaign to take Marib … over suspending the war and moving relief to the Yemeni people,” Lenderking said.
He announced that the United States will resume humanitarian aid funds in northern Yemen, and said Washington will work with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia to find a way to deliver fuel to Yemen, where fuel is most needed.
The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
According to United Nations data, about 80% of people in Yemen need help, and 400,000 children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished. Most of the country’s food relies on imports that have been severely damaged by the warring parties over the years.
The economic and currency collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the suffering of the people.
Sarah Charles, a U.S. Agency for International Development official, told the webinar that “all parties” are interfering with humanitarian operations, delaying deliveries.
The “most egregious” interference has been by the Houthis in northern Yemen, she said, prompting the partial suspension last year of U.S. support to nongovernmental humanitarian groups that “cautiously” was lifted on Friday.
“We ve seen some signs of decreasing interference in the north and more progress is needed,” she said.