US Envoy Condemns Houthi Threats, Stops Short of Blaming Iran

US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking on Wednesday described as “concerning” the failure to renew the truce with the Iran-backed Houthis, which expired on Oct. 2, and called them to be more flexible over the United Nations-proposed extended and expanded truce deal.

Stressing that the United States would continue to help its Gulf partners defend themselves, he also criticized recent Houthi threats concerning commercial shipping and oil companies but refused to speculate about the potential role of Iran in preventing an extension.

Lenderking said that the de facto authorities in North Yemen had imposed very high demands over a proposed mechanism to pay public sector wages, but that he remains confident that an agreement could be reached.

Asked if the regime in Iran, which backs the Houthis, might be responsible for their last-minute backtracking from commitments they had made earlier in the process, Lenderking said that they don’t know, noting that Tehran supported all the UN-backed, truce renewals so far.

The Houthi negotiating committee blasted the mechanism for not including members of the police, security, and military forces but UN envoy Hans Grundberg pointed out that the two sides failed to renew the truce also because they’re still far away from agreement on proposals to increase fuel shipments, add air flights and open roads.

The US envoy also claimed that UN-led negotiations and US diplomacy continue unabated considering that key elements of the initial truce – relatively low violence, fuel shipments to Hodeidah port, and continuity of commercial flights from Sanaa – are still holding.

He also added that the Biden administration had approved a future transfer of defensive weaponry to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including additional Patriot missiles to the Kingdom and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to the UAE.

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