Progressive legislators have put the Biden administration under pressure to work harder on resolving the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where suffering continues to grip the lives of millions enduring the violent upshot of a nationwide coup launched by Houthi militias in 2014.
Criticism is building up despite White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki having reassured US media that resolving the humanitarian crisis and achieving a ceasefire in Yemen topped the list of priorities of Washington’s special envoy for the war-torn country.
According to Psaki, US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking is expected to discuss humanitarian relief efforts, achieving a ceasefire, and many other key topics with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths in his latest trip to the Middle East.
“A handful of progressive legislators gathered in the Situation Room early Wednesday with national security adviser Jake Sullivan to discuss the war in Yemen,” reported US news website Axios.
Those who met Sullivan included Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Bernie Sanders, multiple sources familiar with the meeting confirmed to Axios, adding that they also spoke by phone this week with Lenderking.
“We’re not going to comment on individual meetings, but we regularly engage with lawmakers on progress towards our commitment to ending the catastrophic war in Yemen,” said National Security Council Spokeswoman Emily Horne, signaling the administration’s willingness to take the legislators’ concerns seriously.
State Department Spokesman Ned Price, for his part, told reporters on Thursday that a senior inter-agency delegation will be traveling over the coming week to discuss several important matters related to US national security and ongoing efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.
However, Price stressed that the delegation is not focused on any one issue, especially not Iran.
“Lenderking is, as of today, in Saudi Arabia. He’ll also travel to Oman on this trip. He’s meeting with senior government officials and is always working closely with the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths as part of this,” noted Price.
He added that Lenderking’s discussions are centered around ensuring the regular and unimpeded delivery of commodities and humanitarian assistance throughout Yemen, promoting a lasting ceasefire, and advancing that political process.