US envoy Lenderking returns to the Gulf for talks on Yemen and Iran


The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet with the US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 30, 2021. Saudi press agency / handout via REUTERS ATTENTION

DUBAI, Nov. 17 (Reuters) – U.S. special envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking visits Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to discuss regional security and concerns over Iran, as well as to discuss UN-led peace efforts for Yemen the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.

Lenderking will also discuss the detention of some Yemeni workers on the premises of the US embassy in the capital Sanaa, which was closed in 2015, by the Iranian-allied Houthi movement, the de facto authority in the north.

The State Department had previously stated that the majority of local employees had been released without saying how many had been detained or when. The US embassy in Sanaa was closed after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from Sanaa in late 2014. She has been operating from Riyadh ever since.

Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, criticized the United States for “abandoning” local workers in a Twitter post on Sunday, but did not refer directly to their detention.

Lenderking has made frequent visits to the region this year as part of the United Nations-led effort to secure a ceasefire in Yemen necessary to resume political talks to end the war that a Saudi Arabia-led coalition against the Houthis intervened.

The conflict, in which tens of thousands of people lost their lives and sparked a dire humanitarian crisis, is considered a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Washington has urged Riyadh to lift the coalition’s blockade on ports held by the Houthi, a condition for the group to start ceasefire talks. Riyadh wants a simultaneous deal.

The Lenderking visit comes as Houthi forces advance to areas south of the main port of Hodeidah following a coalition force retreat in the area. The movement has also recently made territorial gains in gas-rich Marib, the government’s last northern stronghold, and oil-rich Shabwa in the south. Continue reading

Writing from Lisa Barrington; Adaptation by Nick Macfie

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