US envoy says Houthis are to blame for Yemen peace deal delays
CAIRO – 21 March 2019: U.S. ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller has blamed the Iran-backed Houthi militia for the stalling of the UN-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah and said the group's weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.
The Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control, at talks in Sweden in December, however, the Houthis did not keep their word on the ceasefire.
"We are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing," Tueller told a televised news conference in the southern port of Aden, where the internationally recognized government is based.
"We are willing to work with others in order to try to implement these agreements and see whether the Houthis can in fact demonstrate a political maturity and start to serve the interests of Yemen rather than acting on behalf of those who seek to weaken and destroy Yemen," he said.
Tueller said he had "not given up hope" that the deal would be implemented in Hodeidah, where thousands of Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition are massed on the outskirts.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war, which pits the Houthis against other Yemeni factions backed by the Saudi-led coalition loyal to the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The United States has sided with the Yemeni government against the Houthis and provides military support to the Saudi-led coalition, including help with targeting for Saudi air strikes against the Houthis.