Washington Wants to Reopen its Embassy in Sanaa


Thu, 19-08-2021 04:02 PM, Aden

Michigan | South24 

The US special envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, said that the United States wants Yemen to stand on its own feet, and to reopen the Yemeni embassy in Sanaa. Noting that his work aims to build the diplomatic infrastructure that would allow for the promotion of negotiations between the various parties involved in the Yemeni conflict. He acknowledged that this is a complicated task due to the other international powers involved in the conflict.

Lenderking's statements come two days after statements by the Chargé d'Affairs of the US Embassy in Yemen, Cathy Westley, in which she expressed the embassy's readiness to visit Aden, South Yemen, on the condition that "the government returns and the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement is completed," according to the Yemeni news agency "Saba".

Lenderking's speech came in an interview with the "Yemeni American News" website, during a visit, yesterday, to the headquarter of the Yemeni community in Michigan, in the United States.

Lenderking believes that "one of the problems that has arisen is that the more the conflict goes on, the more tempting it is for outsiders to get involved to support one faction or another."

Lenderking recalled a previous US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who said, " we need to get the outside forces outside of Yemen. But that doesn’t mean we don’t welcome generous humanitarian pledges."

The United States has its own interests in ending the proxy war that has developed in Yemen, noting that instability in the region could attract regional players designated as terrorist organizations by the United States government.

"Our interests really have to do with ensuring that al Qaeda does not regain a foothold inside Yemen," Lenderking said.

In order to restore stability, the Biden administration is seeking to re-establish diplomatic relations between the various players in the conflict. As the Special Envoy says, the process can be done by Yemenis and by Yemen.

The United States had hinted at recognition of the Iranian-backed Houthi group, during a previous speech by the US special envoy.

“I think the only way you get Yemen out of this, not only out of the war, but out of this pattern of war every few years is by driving a negotiated settlement that will be done by Yemenis themselves,” Lenderking said.

Lenderking saw the necessity of the participation of other parties in the negotiating table, contrary to the practice of previous talks, which failed, and were limited to the two main conflict parties, the Houthis and the government of Yemeni President Hadi.

In this context, Lenderking says, "It would include the Houthis at the table, but also other groups. I mean, I think this is the essence of the issue is that you give Yemenis the table, like we’re sitting at, they will find solutions."

Lenderking indicated the United States' desire to reopen its embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa and that he'd “like nothing more than for Yemen to be back on its feet as a fully functioning part of the Arabian Peninsula.”

"…We haven’t had an ambassador and diplomats in Sana’a in years. We want to be there. We want to reopen our embassy there, we want to have a normal diplomatic relationship with Yemen and work on all those things that we work with other countries on", he added.

Lenderking tweeted pictures of him participating in a football sporting event with the Yemeni community in Michigan, and he also met human rights activists from South.

Since his appointment on February 4, 2021, the US Special Envoy visited the region several times, during which he met with the various local and regional parties to the conflict, the actors in the Yemeni crisis, with the aim of discussing a solution to the crisis and reaching a comprehensive political solution. Lenderking's latest efforts failed, after the Houthis rejected the initiatives made by the United States and the United Nations, as well as the Saudi initiative.

With the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, and the control of the extreme religious movement, the Taliban, on the country, observers believe that this would give the Iranian-backed group in Yemen [Houthis] an incentive to continue the war.

Since 2015, Yemen has been engaged in violent civil wars, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers, and caused an economic collapse and a humanitarian disaster that the United Nations described as the worst in the world. 

Photo: Lenderking, during his participation in a sports event for the Yemeni community, in Michigan, US (official)