Saudi Arabia proposes cease-fire in Yemen as battle drags on
A photo taken on March 18, 2018 shows a Yemeni child looking at buildings that were damaged in an air strike in the southern Yemeni city of Taez.
AHMAD AL-BASHA | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proposed a new peace initiative on Monday to usher in the end of the war in Yemen.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Monday that the plan would include a nationwide ceasefire that would allow the reopening of Sanaa Airport and the importation of fuel and food through the port of Hodeidah.
The civil war in Yemen escalated in 2014 when the Houthi forces, allied with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, took over the country’s capital.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been carrying out attacks against the Houthis in Yemen since March 2015. Former President Donald Trump’s administration had supported the Saudi Arabia-led intervention in Yemen.
Trump vetoed a measure in 2019 aimed at ending US military aid and engagement in Yemen. At the time, Trump said the Congressional resolution was “unnecessary” and “endangered the lives of American citizens and brave service members both now and in the future.”
The legislature, which backed the measure, criticized Saudi Arabia for a series of bombing attacks that killed thousands of civilians in Yemen.
Last month, President Joe Biden announced the end of US support for offensive operations in Yemen and appointed a new envoy to oversee the nation’s diplomatic mission to end the civil war there.
“This war has to end,” said Biden during his first foreign policy address as president. “We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the Yemen war, including arms sales.”
“At the same time, Saudi Arabia is exposed to missile attacks, UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in several countries,” said Biden. “We will continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and people.”
The President appointed Tim Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, Iraq and Regional Multilateral Affairs to oversee the US diplomatic mission to end the war in Yemen.
Biden’s policy of ending support for offensive operations will not extend to US military action against al-Qaeda’s subsidiary known as AQAP in the region.
Biden also stopped the sale of precision-guided ammunition to Saudi Arabia to assess possible human rights violations.
The United Nations previously said that the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen has caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The U.S. provided more than $ 630 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen in fiscal 2020, according to the State Department.