The US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, stated that his country recognizes the Iranian-backed Houthi group as a legitimate actor in Yemen. Speaking at the National Council on US-Arab Relations sponsored webinar, the US envoy touched upon the latest developments in the war-torn country.
In his speech, Lenderking said, “The United States recognizes them as a legitimate actor, we recognize them as a group that has made significant gains. No one can wish for them to be away or out of the conflict, so let’s deal with realities that exist on the ground.”
Besides, Lenderking reiterated his call on the international community to pressure the Houthi group to halt their military operations towards Marib, which is accepted as one of the latest strongholds of the legitimate government in Yemen.
The US envoy also expressed his satisfaction regarding the agreement that had been reached between the legitimate government and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) for the former’s return to the interim capital, Aden. On the issue, Lenderking said, “the engagement in the Riyadh Agreement is encouraging and can contribute to the return of the government to Aden.”
The agreement between the two sides was also affirmed by the STC’s spokesperson Ali Abdullah Al Kathiri, through a statement. Expressing his gratefulness to Saudi Arabia for its efforts to ensure the agreement between the two sides, Al Kathiri stated that the required mechanism to implement the Riyadh Agreement would be established as soon as possible.
Tim Lenderking also warned that the humanitarian aid programs could face the danger of closure within the next few months if the necessary money pledged by the international community is not delivered and the amount is not increased.
Stating that the US pledged $350 million to Yemen for this year, a senior official at the US Agency for International Development, Sarah Charles, said, “the fact is that more funding is required to address growing needs.”
The US has intensified its efforts to establish a nationwide ceasefire agreement in Yemen between the Iran-aligned Houthi group and the Saudi-led Arab Coalition. Last week, the US envoy returned from Saudi Arabia where he met with officials both from the Kingdom and Yemen’s legitimate government as well as UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.