A senior U.S. diplomatic official reportedly said Thursday the U.S. is negotiating with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels an in effort to end the Yemeni Civil War.
“We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen,” David Schenker, assistant secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, told reporters during a visit to Saudi Arabia, according to Agence France-Presse. “We are also having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually accepted negotiated solution to the conflict.”
A U.S. State Department official told VOA Thursday the U.S. is engaged in talks with “all Yemenis to further U.S. objectives in the country.”
The official said the United States is continuing “to work with our international partners to bring peace, prosperity and security to a unified Yemen” and is “focused on supporting a comprehensive political agreement that will end the conflict and the dire humanitarian situation.”
The Houthis launched an offensive against the Yemeni government in 2015, followed by a Saudi-led military intervention against the rebels, leading to a more complex conflict.
Three months after the beginning of the Saudi military campaign, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration held brief talks with Houthi leaders to convince them to attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.
The Geneva talks and subsequent rounds of negotiations were unsuccessful, pushing the impoverished country to the brink of famine.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the rebels seized the capital and much of the country in 2014, sparking what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.