A group of US senators in a letter to President Joe Biden have condemned the continued blockade of Yemen and urged the American leader to pressure Saudi Arabia to stop the use of blockade tactics in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
“We request that you leverage all influence and tools available, including the potential impact on pending weapons sales, U.S.-Saudi military cooperation, and U.S.-Saudi ties more broadly, to demand that Saudi Arabia immediately and unconditionally stop the use of blockade tactics.
The current commercial fuel import standoff must end today and be decoupled from ongoing negotiations,” the lawmakers wrote.
The authors of the letter, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and 14 other senior lawmakers, called the blockade the primary cause of the people’s suffering in Yemen as it prevents food, medicine, and other crucial supplies from reaching those who need them during the protracted conflict that started seven years ago.
At the same time, the letter acknowledged the positive consequences of the Biden Administration’s steps to address the conflict, including the reverse of Trump’s designation of Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization, the end of support for Saudi-led offensive operations, and resume of critical humanitarian assistance to northern Yemen.
Yemen has been gripped by an internal conflict between the government forces and the Houthi movement for over six years. Since 2015, the Saudi-led coalition fighting on the government’s side has been conducting air, land and sea operations against the rebels, as well as repeatedly blocking the Yemeni waters by its warships.
The Houthis often retaliate by firing projectiles and bomber drones on Saudi territory.