US says Huthis missed major chance for peace talks
The United States blasted Yemen's Huthi rebels Friday for skipping a crucial opportunity to meet with the United Nations and discuss a possible peace resolution to the conflict in Yemen.
"There is a fair deal on the table that will bring immediate relief to Yemeni people," said US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking.
"The Huthis passed up a major opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to peace and to make progress on this proposal by refusing to meet with UN Special Envoy (Martin) Griffiths in Muscat," he said.
That contrasted with the Yemen government's willingness to reach a peace deal, he added.
Lenderking made the statement at the end of a visit to the region where he visited Oman and Saudi Arabia, Yemen's immediate neighbors.
Lenderking called out the Huthis' contradictions -- arguing that they claimed concern over the humanitarian situation while continuing to attack the northern government stronghold of Marib.
"With the growing international consensus and momentum toward ending the conflict in Yemen without further delay, all parties must engage with the UN Special Envoy and address the proposal that is on the table," the US diplomat said.
On Wednesday the United Nations expressed regrets over the lack of progress in peace talks aiming to end more than six years of fighting in Yemen.
The UN has sought to broker a deal between the Iran-backed Huthis and the Yemen government backed by Saudi Arabia.
"We have been discussing these issues for over a year now. The international community has been supporting us in full force," Griffiths said after a round of meetings with interested parties in Oman.
"Unfortunately, we are not where we would like to be in reaching a deal," he said.