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White House lauds Saudi Arabia after Houthi invite for Yemen peace talks

The White House on Friday praised Saudi Arabia for inviting Houthi fighters to Riyadh for peace talks in a bid to end the yearslong war in Yemen.

Members of the Iran-backed Houthi group landed in the Kingdom this week after Saudi Arabia said it invited the delegation as an extension of the Saudi initiative announced in March 2021.

 

It is the first official visit by Houthi members since 2014.

Oman has also been a key facilitator in trying to find a resolution to the war that broke out between the Houthis and the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

“We commend the leadership of Saudi Arabia for this current initiative and thank the leadership of Oman for its important role,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

Earlier this year, flights from Yemen to Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrims and a prisoner swap were all seen as positive developments.

The Biden administration has prioritized trying to help end the war, with the US president appointing a special envoy for Yemen as one of his first foreign policy moves after taking office.

“The United States has been proud to lend our diplomatic support to these peace efforts in coordination with the Yemeni parties and the United Nations,” Sullivan said on Friday.

Sullivan called on “all parties to this terrible conflict to further solidify and expand on the benefits of the truce.”

A UN-brokered ceasefire was reached last year and extended twice before the Houthis refused a third extension. But fighting and clashes have been significantly reduced, and cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia have stopped for months.

 

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