The US State Department affirmed that the Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to hold talks with senior officials within the scope of efforts to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen. Lenderking’s visit came while the Iran-backed Houthi group is escalating its military offensive towards both Saudi territory and the Marib region.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing, State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters that Special Envoy Lenderking would meet with senior Saudi officials as well as representatives from Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Within the scope of his visit, he will discuss several key issues, including the Houthis’ cross-border attacks towards Saudi Arabia, the military escalation in Marib, and necessary attempts by the Yemeni government to stabilize Yemen’s wrecked economy, Porter added. The deepening humanitarian crisis and efforts to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the war-torn country are other issues that the envoy would handle during his visit, according to a statement issued by the State Department.
Lenderking’s visit came following the Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s trip to Oman, where she held meetings with Omani officials to revive the stalled efforts for bringing an end to more than six years of war. According to the statement issued by the State Department following Sherman’s visit, she met with the Omani Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalifa al-Harty. During her visit, she emphasized the importance of the Omani mediatory role played in the region and expressed her gratitude for the Gulf country’s efforts to ensure an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen, the statement added.
The US’ latest attempts came while armed clashes are rising in the Marib region, the Yemeni government’s last stronghold, and in the al-Bayda governorate. According to local sources, the Houthi group has also intensified its efforts to advance towards the oil-producing Shabwa region. Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed group maintains its airstrikes targeting Saudi territory. Recently, Saudi-led Arab Coalition officials announced that four ballistic missiles and two drones launched by the Houthi group towards the southern Saudi city of Jizan were intercepted.