US reiterates call for peace in Yemen

‘The time for direct talks and building mutual confidence is now’, says State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert

US reiterates call for peace in Yemen

The United States on Wednesday reiterated its call for all parties in civil war-torn Yemen to immediately cease hostilities and engage in direct talks aimed at ending the conflict.

"The time for direct talks and building mutual confidence is now," said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement.

The statement also called on all parties to support UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths. 

“We welcome the UN Special Envoy's statement that the Houthis and the Republic of Yemen Government are committed to attending the consultations in Sweden, and we call on the parties to follow through on that commitment,” Nauert said.

“All parties must not delay talks any longer, or insist on travel or transport conditions that call into question good faith intentions to look for a solution or to make necessary concessions.

"We encourage all combatants to abide by their statements declaring a commitment to cease hostilities and call on those parties to not use any period of truce to reinforce military positions, implant mines, or in any way escalate the conflict,” she said.

The statement also called for Yemen’s key Hudaydah port to be turned over to a neutral party "to accelerate the distribution of aid to address the acute humanitarian crisis, and to prevent the port from being used to smuggle weapons and contraband into the country or to finance the Houthi militia".

Hudaydah receives roughly 70 percent of the commercial imports and humanitarian aid entering the country.

“It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction,” the statement added.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. 

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. 

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