Intense political discussions and backdoor meetings are continuing to find a viable solution to the ongoing strife in neighbouring Yemen with Oman playing a major mediatory role in bringing warring parties to the negotiating table.
According to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the US State Dept, US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking spoke to H E Khalifa bin Ali al Harthy, Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, and H E Moosa Hamdan al Tai, ambassador of Oman to the United States, on Friday separately.
The US envoy discussed with Omani diplomats the next steps for resolving the Yemen conflict. ‘The US welcomes Omani efforts, including their recent trip to Sana’a to engage the Houthi leadership,’ a statement said. An Omani delegation had travelled to Yemen earlier this month to speak to parties concerned.
Lenderking also spoke with Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, Foreign Minister of Yemen, on Saturday to discuss the Riyadh Agreement and efforts to improve public services. ‘The US has a strong partnership with the Yemeni government and we look forward to its return to Aden,’ stated the US State Dept.
Lenderking had returned from Saudi Arabia on June 18. During the trip he met with officials from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as well as UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. In these meetings, Lenderking noted the need for the Yemeni government to return to Aden as soon as possible and highlighted the importance of swift progress in the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
Additionally, the special envoy discussed the latest efforts to achieve a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire, including the urgency of de-escalating the fighti- ng in Marib, and reiterated the importance of the free flow of goods, especially fuel, through Hudaydah port and throughout Yemen.
‘The Special Envoy also discussed with the Omanis their recent visit to Sana’a and reiterated US appreciation for the efforts of Oman in encouraging peace efforts in Yemen.’
Owing to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, Linderking also had a discussion on Saturday with Peter Maurer, president of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). ‘They agreed upon the importance of improved humanitarian access, an immediate comprehensive and nationwide ceasefire, and an end to the Houthi offensive against Marib, where 1mn already-vulnerable internally displaced persons reside,’ said the US State Dept.
According to ICRC, more than 2,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed and 2mn children are out of school. About 70 per cent of the population does not have access to drinking water and more than 80 per cent of the population depends on humanitarian aid.