On Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Yemen’s Houthis must “stop attacking and start negotiating.” The comments come as fighting continues to rage in Yemen’s Maarib province and after Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
Price said the Houthis “have to demonstrate their willingness to engage in a political process. They need to quite simply stop attacking and start negotiating. Only then will we be able to make progress towards the political settlement that we’re after.”
Price was referring to Houthi attacks inside Saudi territory, calling them “unacceptable.” In February, the Houthis offered to stop these attacks in exchange for an end to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. But Riyadh continues to pound the country with bombs in Maarib and also in the capital Sanaa, where Saudi airstrikes hit on Sunday.
The Saudi airstrikes continue despite President Biden announcing an end to US support for Riyadh’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, which left open the option of military support if it can be framed as defensive in nature. It’s not clear if the US provided intelligence or other support for the latest Saudi airstrikes.
March 25th marks the sixth anniversary of the US announcing its support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Despite the almost six years of Saudi airstrikes that frequently hit civilian infrastructure, US officials are somehow still surprised by Houthi attacks inside Saudi territory.