White House Faces Pressure to Intervene Effectively in Yemeni Crisis

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, March 9. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, March 9. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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White House Faces Pressure to Intervene Effectively in Yemeni Crisis

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, March 9. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, March 9. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.