(CNS News) — Following President Joe Biden’s decision on Feb. 4 to end “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” his administration has initiated talks with the Saudis and has called on Houthi rebels to halt attacks.
With 24 million people in need of assistance, 10 million experiencing famine, and over 100,000 killed, the Yemen war has caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, according to Human Rights Watch.
For six years, the Saudi coalition and Houthi rebels within Yemen, who are backed by Iran, have been at war, and before Biden’s announcement, precision-guided munition sales to Saudi Arabia alone were worth as much as $760 million, reported Defense News.
Although President Donald Trump previously vetoed a resolution that would have stopped arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Biden’s move was received positively by Republicans such as Mike Lee (R-Utah), who tweeted, “I commend the president’s announcement ending unconstitutional U.S. support for the war in Yemen.”
In addition to ending the arms sales, Biden pledged to “reassess” the US-Saudi relationship. His special envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, was seen meeting with Saudi foreign ministers last week in Riyadh.
According to Foreign Policy, a senior Trump administration official reported that Lenderking “is going to be delivering a new message” regarding Yemen.
Biden’s strategy, however, is also aimed at quelling violence coming from Yemeni rebels. On Sunday, State Department representative Ned Price announced, “we call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks impacting civilian areas inside Saudi Arabia and to halt any new military offensives inside Yemen, which only bring more suffering to the Yemeni people.”
The Biden administration also seeks to rescind the Houthi’s designation as a terrorist organization, which, according to Al-Monitor made it difficult for relief agencies to deliver aid.