Gulf regional parties play a key role in advancing the peace agenda in Yemen as the US exerts intensive diplomatic efforts to bring about a viable resolution to the ongoing conflict.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing Wednesday, US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking emphasised that beyond financial contributions, the US seeks to leverage the considerable influence of the Gulf nations to encourage and support a Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue.
“It’s not only being donors that we expect from the Gulf but harnessing their considerable influence to bring it to bear on regional actors to support a Yemeni–Yemeni dialogue,” he said, citing the vital function Gulf regional entities hold in expediting the resolution of the conflict.
Lenderking highlighted the importance of building an international consensus and coordinating regional efforts as vital components in achieving a resolution to the crisis in Yemen.
During his recent trip to the Gulf region, he met with officials from Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Nations aimed at securing a more comprehensive ceasefire agreement and initiating a UN-mediated Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue.
“The US recognises that in our effort to support a peace effort in Yemen, regional parties have an essential role to play, and that is why when I travel to the Gulf region as I have more than 30 times since being appointed in this role.
“All of my trips generally visit the regional actors as well and so working on building an international consensus, coordinating the regional efforts, and uniting them around a common way forward is something that I feel the US prioritises,” the envoy said.
Lenderking’s efforts also extended to addressing the dire humanitarian and economic crisis in Yemen, as well as devising strategies to mitigate environmental threats arising from the Safer oil tanker.
Reflecting on the strides made over the past two years, he underlined the commitment of the Biden –Harris administration in prioritising an end to the Yemen conflict. He said notable accomplishments during this period include de-escalating the fighting, successfully maintaining a truce initiated in April of the previous year, and launching peace talks.
“Yemen has witnessed the longest period of de-escalation since the war began, thousands of lives have been saved, cross-border attacks and air strikes have stopped, and freedom of movement has been improved, including the resumption of commercial flights from Sana’a airport for the first time since 2016. That said, much more is needed.
“Only a Yemeni – Yemeni political agreement can durably resolve this civil conflict and only a comprehensive recovery and reconstruction effort with strong support from regional, as well international donors can reverse the humanitarian and economic crisis facing Yemenis every single day,” Lenderking said.
Lenderking expressed optimism about the prospects of further peace progress, highlighting that ultimate decisions rest with the conflict parties.
“We remain optimistic about the prospects for further progress towards peace, but ultimately, the key decisions rest with the conflict parties Yemenis must have difficult conversations with one another.
“We know that a settlement would only be durable if it incorporates the perspectives and addresses the concerns of a wide range of Yemenis. That is why we and others in the international community are urging the Houthis to seize this unprecedented opportunity to sit down with the Republic of Yemen government to chart a brighter future for Yemen,” the envoy said.
Affirming the continued commitment of the US and the Biden–Harris administration, Lenderking reaffirmed Yemen's status as a top foreign policy priority. The US, he added, seeks a stable and prosperous Yemen, free from undue foreign influence, and remains dedicated to collaborating with international partners, the UN, regional actors, and Yemeni parties to achieve this goal.
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