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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to have the Foreign Minister of Yemen here with us today, someone very familiar to Washington, to the United States, having been ambassador here before.  But it’s wonderful to welcome you to the State Department – welcome back to the State Department – especially in this moment, because this is a moment of genuine and important opportunity for Yemen and its people: after so many years of war, conflict, and suffering, an opportunity for peace that we hope all Yemenis will find a way to seize.

We very much welcome the government’s support for the truce, for the resumption now of commercial flights from Sana’a – first one yesterday to Amman; more to follow – and as well, the focus now of the Presidential Leadership Council on doing everything possible to support the needs of the Yemeni people despite the great challenges.  We – United States strongly supports all of these efforts.  We are with you in trying to move things forward and to take advantage of this moment.

So I think it’s a very good time for us to be able to share some thoughts on where we are, where we go, and to again, as I say, take advantage of the fact that after so many years there is an opening for a more durable peace, something that the United States will be a partner in and do what is necessary to help make it real.  Mr. Minister, welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER MUBARAK:  Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary.  I’m very glad to be here again, specifically in this building.  I told the Politico that I miss this building.  We had a lot of meetings and receptions here.  I would like to thank you so much, thank the U.S. administration for placing Yemen as a priority, for appointing an excellent envoy who he did a great job on supporting us in many aspects.  I mean, we celebrated yesterday the first flight from – from Sana’a to Amman, and that was fruits of our joint work.

I thank also the level of – and we appreciate very much the level of support that we’re getting from the U.S. administration for the PLC, the Presidential Leadership Council.  You know our position.  We were always seeking for peace.  We did a lot of – so many concessions to make peace.  We respected the truce and we are very hopeful to extend this truce and start – we are ready for a new initiative.  We are ready for peace.  The question is are Houthis ready for that.

You just mentioned the flight.  Taiz is still under siege.  Taiz is still – even the meeting about Taiz is not conducted because Houthis, they do not – they didn’t nominate their names, so we are expecting more pressure from international community, specifically from the U.S. administration.  We want to see lift the siege.  People of Taiz, they cannot wait more.

There is a window of peace.  There is a moment in that we all – we are all have to seize.  Be sure that you have a partner in Yemen, not just in peace process, but also in CT.  We missed you in Marrakech.  We were there, but also maintaining and ensuring the security of the (inaudible), the (inaudible) which is (inaudible).

I’m very keen to discuss all these issues with you in this meeting, including (inaudible) and the other vital and critical issues.  Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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