The Houthis are pushing towards the gas-rich region of Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen.
A “solid plan” for a cease-fire in Yemen was before Houthi leadership for “a number of days”, but it appears that the group is prioritizing a military offensive MaribUS Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking said on Friday.
“I will return immediately when the Houthis are ready to speak,” Lenderking told the Atlantic Council think tank after a visit to the region to revive efforts to end the six-year conflict which is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. .
“The US and the UN – we urge the Houthis to respond,” he said. “If we cannot make progress now, the country will sink into further conflict and instability.”
A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iranian-allied Houthi group overthrew the country’s government from the capital Sana’a. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.
“We now have a solid plan for a nationwide ceasefire with elements that would immediately address the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen,” Lenderking said. “This plan has been before the Houthi leaders for several days.”
The Houthis, however, have recently pushed towards the gas-rich region of Marib, with the aim of taking the last government stronghold in northern Yemen. The United Nations have warned that millions of civilians are in danger.
“Tragically, and somewhat confusing to me, it seems the Houthis are prioritizing a military campaign to take Marib… rather than suspending the war and bringing relief to the Yemeni people,” Lenderking said.
He announced that the United States would restore humanitarian aid funding to northern Yemen, and said Washington would work with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia to find a way to provide fuel to Yemenis who need it most.
United Nations describes conflict in Yemen as world’s worst humanitarian conflict crisis.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a high-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council hosted by the United States on Thursday that more than 88 million people in Yemen and three dozen other countries were suffering from ” acute hunger ”at the end of 2020 due to conflict and instability.
“Today I have a simple message: if you don’t feed people, you feed conflict,” Guterres said.
“Conflict leads to anger and famine, and anger and famine leads to conflict. When a country or region is in the throes of conflict and hunger, they are mutually reinforcing, ”he said. “They cannot be solved separately.”
Five years of conflict in Yemen has displaced four million people and left many “facing death sentences as hunger rages in their nation,” Guterres said. “About half of all children under five – 2.3 million – are expected to face acute malnutrition by 2021. Some 16 million people face food insecurity.”
About 80 percent of Yemenis need help, with 400,000 severely malnourished children under five, according to UN data. For much of its food, the country depends on imports which have been severely disrupted over the years by all warring parties.
The suffering of the people has been compounded by an economic and monetary collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.