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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Aden - Ali Rabih

UK Urges Yemen’s Houthis to Avoid Escalation, US Calls for Release of 12 Employees

The gate of the US embassy in Sanaa. Photo: Twitter

The British government urges the Houthi militias not to escalate and deal constructively with the efforts of the United Nations envoy to extend the truce in Yemen, according to the UK Government Arabic Spokesperson in MENA, Rosie Dyas.

Dyas said in a statement on Twitter that the Houthis' rejection of the proposal to extend the ceasefire in Yemen jeopardizes the progress made and threatens the chance for peace.

She explained that since the beginning of the truce, Yemenis have lived more safely and traveled more freely, oil flowed to Hodeidah, and thousands visited their loved ones and received urgent medical care abroad.

"The moment has come for Houthi leaders to engage constructively with the UN. We encourage all parties to avoid further escalation because this is the strongest possibility for peace since the beginning of the conflict, and it is what the Yemeni people deserve," she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on the Houthis to release 12 employees of the US local embassy in Sanaa a year after their arrest.

In a statement issued by the State Department, Blinken noted that one year ago, Houthi forces breached the compound used by the US embassy before it suspended its operations in 2015 and began detaining, without justification, Yemeni Locally Employed Staff.

"As of today, twelve current and former US and UN employees remain detained. Most have had no contact with their families, and one passed away in detention earlier this year."

The statement indicated that the continued detention of the Yemeni employees "shows a gross disregard for diplomatic norms and constitutes an affront to the entire international community."

The United States will "unceasingly continue diplomatic efforts to secure their release, working with our international partners."

Blinken warned that these actions continue "to call into question Houthi willingness to see Yemen return to peace. The UN Security Council has condemned these Houthi actions in the strongest terms, as has the US Congress and many international partners."

The State Department reiterated its commitment to advancing a durable resolution to the Yemen conflict and ensuring the safety of those who serve the US government.

"I call on the Houthis to release these Yemeni citizens and return them to their families as a demonstration of their commitment to peace for the people of Yemen and willingness to participate in a future government that respects the rule of law," said Blinken.

Washington's demand for the release of its embassy staff came after the head of the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, Rashad al-Alimi, returned to Aden and formed an 11-member committee to engage in talks with the Houthis, according to informed sources.

The sources indicated that Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak leads the team that includes Council member Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi, lawmaker Islah Ali Ashal, and members of the Southern Transitional Council, Nasser al-Khubaji and Abdul Rahman Sheikh.

On Tuesday, after his return to Aden, Alimi expressed his disappointment that Houthis continue to reject peace efforts and the extension of the UN-sponsored truce.

Alimi indicated that Houthis ended people's hopes for peace and stability by refusing to extend the truce and pay salaries to employees in the areas falling under their control.

He asserted that he would work with members of the Presidential Leadership Council and the government "tirelessly" to alleviate Yemenis' suffering, rebuild the economy and establish peace in the country.

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