Executive Intelligence Review


‘Climate Is Right’ for Yemen Talks To Move Forward, Urges State Department

Nov. 1, 2018 (EIRNS)—The State Department issued a statement yesterday, following up that made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, calling for a ceasefire and negotiations in Yemen. The State Department’s deputy spokesman Robert Palladino urged the Houthi group to immediately cease missile and drone strikes into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and told the Saudi-led coalition to halt air strikes in populated areas in Yemen, reports Reuters. “We have come to the assessment that the climate is right at this time to move forward,” Palladino told reporters. A U.S. source familiar with the issue told Reuters that one of the driving factors is the progress made by UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, during a September visit to the Houthi-held capital, Sana’a.

Griffiths welcomed the calls for renewed talks and a ceasefire.

“I urge all concerned parties to seize this opportunity to engage constructively with our current efforts to swiftly resume political consultations to agree on a framework for political negotiations,” he said. “We remain committed to bring the Yemeni parties to the negotiations table within a month.”

The Houthi official responsible for foreign affairs, Hisham Sharaf, praised Griffiths’ continued efforts, but urged Western governments to take concrete steps to enforce a ceasefire to create “conditions conducive to peace far away from any pressure or dictates,” the Houthi-run Saba news agency said.

Nonetheless, the Saudis have reportedly deployed a large force of as many as 30,000 troops around the port of Hodeidah, Reuters reports.

“Thousands of Yemeni soldiers trained by the [Saudi] coalition have been sent to the outskirts of Hodeidah, in addition to modern weaponry including armored vehicles and tanks ... in preparation for a big operation in coming days,”

said one source. Hodeidah is a strategic port through which 70% of the country’s imports enter.