The United Nations and United States’ envoys to Yemen have been intensifying their efforts to ease the escalation in the war-torn country and revive peace efforts.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths and newly-appointed US envoy Tim Lenderking are both in Riyadh to pursue these efforts.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak held separate talks on Tuesday with the envoys, expressing the legitimate government’s commitment to peace based on the three references and accusing the Iran-backed Houthi militias of dismissing peace and serving Tehran’s expansionist agenda in the region.
The meetings were held as the Houthis continued their offensive in the oil-rich northern Marib province, despite their mounting losses, which have topped hundreds of casualties and wounded in just the past two weeks of fighting against the national army.
Bin Mubarak said: “The terrorist Houthis have grown addicted to war and they completely disregard the lives of Yemenis, especially children whom they are recruiting to their losing battles at the orders of the Iranian regime.”
The Saba news agency reported that the minister is preparing to embark on a tour of Gulf capitals.
During his meeting with Lenderking, he warned of the “growing massive humanitarian toll of the Houthis’ ongoing escalation in Marib.” He cited the militias’ violations against displacement camps, which he said they are using as human shields.
The authority overseeing the management of refugee camps in Yemen revealed on Tuesday that in the past two weeks, over 12,000 people have been displaced due to the Marib fighting. Ninety percent of the displaced came from the Sirwah region in western Marib.
Official sources said Bin Mubarak had urged Lenderking and the international community to exert “real pressure” on the Houthis to force them to cease their violence and accept a political solution that would achieve peace in Yemen based on the three references and relevant UN resolutions.
For his part, the US official renewed Washington’s position for the Houthis to stop all military operations in Marib and refrain from actions that destabilize Yemen. He stressed that there could be no military solution to the crisis, reiterating his country’s support for the legitimate government.
The UN and US envoys are hoping their efforts would lead to a cessation of hostilities that would pave the way for a political settlement.
Several observers believe the goal is still very hard to reach given the Houthis’ opting for war as they continue to pursue Iran’s agenda in the region.
Lenderking, meanwhile, is on a tour of the Gulf, which he kicked off on Monday. Beside bin Mubarak, he has so far met with Saudi Minster of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir. He is set to conclude his tour on March 3.
Diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US and Europe are coordinating efforts to ease the escalation in Yemen and revive the peace process.
Amid this push, Houthi leaders have in recent days announced that their assault on Marib is aimed at capturing oil and gas fields. One leader even alleged that the militias were fighting Americans and Israelis in Marib in an attempt to manipulate naïve youths into joining their ranks.
On the ground, Yemeni military sources said Tuesday that the national army is continuing to deter Houthi attacks on various fronts in Marib, as it made advances east of the city of al-Hazim.