Yemen government urges US to push Houthis to end Taiz siege

Yemen government urges US to push Houthis to end Taiz siege
Yemen's Taiz has been blockaded by the Houthis since 2015, and the Yemeni foreign minister said a meeting about the city has not been held yet because the rebels 'didn't nominate their names'.
2 min read
20 May, 2022
Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, Yemen's foreign minister, was speaking with the US's Antony Blinken [MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL/AFP/Getty]

The US was urged by Yemen's internationally-recognised government to push the Houthi rebels toward ending their years-long siege of the country's third city of Taiz.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak spoke with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, in a video-recorded session on Tuesday ahead of a meeting between the two.

Taiz has been blockaded by the Houthis since 2015. Bin Mubarak said a meeting about the fate of the southwestern city has not yet been held because the rebels "didn't nominate their names".

"So we are expecting more pressure from the international community, specifically from the US administration," the minister continued.

"We want to see the lifting of the siege. The people of Taiz, they cannot wait for more."

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In a US readout of the meeting, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken "specifically noted the importance of ensuring the freedom of movement of people and goods through contested areas, like the city of Taiz".

Price added that in Taiz, "hundreds of thousands of Yemenis are suffering under siege-like conditions and bearing the brunt of the humanitarian crisis".

It follows the resumption of flights from Sanaa's international airport, beginning with a flight on Monday to Jordan's capital, effectively ending a Saudi-led siege on Houthi territories.

This took place under the terms of a two-month ceasefire in Yemen, which has also seen fuel ships enter the Houthi-controlled Hodeida port.

The truce, which expires in two weeks, was supposed to see roads into Taiz unblocked, but this has yet to take place.

It comes as the United Nations seeks to extend the ceasefire, with its Yemen envoy, Hans Grundberg, on Tuesday saying discussions were currently taking place.

Bin Mubarak said before his meeting with Blinken on Tuesday that Yemen's government is "very hopeful to extend this truce" and is "ready for peace".

The Houthis are to examine their position on prolonging the ceasefire, according to their Saba news agency.

Yemen's conflict began in 2014, with the Houthis fighting the government and a Saudi-led coalition which intervened on its behalf in 2015.

Both sides have been accused of grave violations by human rights groups.

Agencies contributed to this report.