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Senior US officials continue talks pressing for renewed ceasefire agreement in Yemen

SENIOR US officials continued to hold talks in the Gulf region pressing for a renewed ceasefire agreement in Yemen today, while fierce fighting continues.

US special envoy Yemen Tim Lenderking to Yemen was in Saudi Arabia just a day after Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Oman where she called for “an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire to help bring the war in Yemen to an end.”

Houthi forces having been battling for control of Yemen for nearly seven years since former president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was ousted in a popular uprising.

They took over the capital city Sanaa in September 2014 and now control most of the country’s largest urban areas.

Both Mr Hadi and the Houthis claim to be the legitimate government. 

A Saudi-led coalition has carried out a six-year bombing campaign to reinstate him, which has pushed the country to the brink of the world’s worst famine in more than a century.

Backed by weapons, military and tactical support from Britain, France and the US, the coalition has been accused of war crimes, with the deliberate targeting of schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

Many analysts view the Yemeni conflict as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is accused of backing the Houthis.

Mr Lenderking discussed the “growing consequences” of the Houthi offensive against the oil-rich Marib region, Mr Hadi’s final stronghold. 

Earlier this month Houthi forces warned that the US was insincere over its calls for an end to the conflict, accusing Washington of supporting jihadist groups.

Spokesman for the group Mohamad Abdulsalam said that the US was aiding continued aggression.

“The militants whom the United States describes as legitimate fighters in al-Bayda governorate and supports, include al-Qaida and Isis members,” he said.

“In the next few days, you will hear how Washington will regress, ask us to respond to peace, ask for a ceasefire and say that we are the ones who obstruct peace in Yemen.”

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