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Moderator:  Hello to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Dubai Regional Media Hub.  I would like to welcome everyone from the Middle East and around the world for this on-the-record briefing with Tim Lenderking, U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen.  Special Envoy Lenderking will provide updates on U.S. diplomatic efforts in support of peace efforts by the United Nations, including the just-announced two-month truce extension as well as U.S. support for the UN’s operational plan to avert imminent threats from the Safer oil tanker.  

After opening remarks, Special Envoy Lenderking will take your questions.  We are pleased to offer simultaneous interpretation for this briefing in Arabic, so we request everyone keep this in mind and speak slowly.    

I’ll now turn it over to Special Envoy Lenderking for his opening remarks.  Sir, the floor is yours.  

Mr. Lenderking:  Thank you very much, Geraldine, and thank you to all of you for joining this conversation today.  It’s a very timely opportunity for us to talk about the positive changes in Yemen.    

I think many of you are aware that I just returned from Yemen.  I traveled to Aden last week with our new Ambassador to Yemen Steve Fagin, and the purpose of the trip was to demonstrate U.S. commitment to Yemen and, indeed, to secure the truce that Geraldine noted has been renewed until August 2nd.  As you know, Yemen remains a priority for the U.S. administration.  We remain committed to a durable solution to the conflict and we are in it for the long haul.   

This is the best opportunity Yemen has had for peace in several years.  To move forward on the path to peace, the conflict parties must not only implement the terms of the current truce – including urgently opening roads to Taiz – they must agree to a permanent ceasefire and begin a comprehensive and inclusive political process that durably ends the war.  So we urge the parties to continue to choose peace over continued war, suffering, and destruction.  

The ongoing truce is having tangible impact on millions of Yemenis.  The truce has enabled the flow of essential goods.  It has improved the freedom of movement.  It has facilitated humanitarian access and it has saved lives.  But more work is needed.  The truce is temporary.  This renewal ends on August 2nd.    

We need to continue the commercial flights to and from Cairo and Amman, Jordan.  We thank the governments of Egypt and Jordan for their support for this effort.  These commercial flights are the first flights commercially out of Sana’a airport since 2016.  They’re flying almost at full capacity.  This shows that Yemenis have been unable to travel for too long and really relish the opportunity to travel for medical attention, to see loved ones, and to gain respite from the conflict.  The fuel ships that have been offloading in Hodeidah Port need to continue to offload according to the terms of the truce.  And then, on the military side, the parties must maintain calm and continue to freeze in place.    

Along with the Taiz road opening, where citizens have suffered too long, these are the core elements of the truce, and we really call on all the parties to continue to adhere to the terms.  As I say, I think they’re making a real difference in the lives of Yemenis.  Yemenis are seeing tangible results from this truce.  And in that vein, we ask that the Houthis urgently open roads to Taiz city, Yemen’s third-largest, so that Yemenis can finally access basic goods and services and see loved ones.  It’s a very important step and part of the truce.    

The U.S. supports the new Presidential Leadership Council, whom I had a chance to meet with in Aden last week with our ambassador.  We think that the Presidential Leadership Council represents broader representation of Yemenis than we have seen in many years, and provides an opportunity for the Government of Yemen to reassert its commitment to peace efforts and to improve basic services and economic stability for millions of Yemenis.  The UN-led truce creates an opportunity for peace, and again, the parties must step in, adhere to the terms of the truce, and look to build toward a durable ceasefire and toward a political process.    

At the same time, let’s also use this period of relative calm and confidence-building to get the ticking time bomb that is the Safer tanker with its 1.1 million barrels of oil offloaded onto a safer vessel so we can avert an economic, humanitarian, and environmental disaster in the Red Sea.  We’re calling on donors building on the May 11th pledging conference that took place to step up for funding the UN’s emergency project to avert this oil spill or the explosion that could result from the Safer oil tanker.  I’ve talked to experts who know this issue much better than I do and have studied it for longer.  They say they are surprised that this vessel has not exploded already.  This is the last thing that Yemen and the region needs, is this kind of conflict to deal with in addition to everything else.  We’ve raised the – through the UN appeal a substantial amount of money.  We need to get to a higher figure, and we need the private sector.  This is not just on governments.  Many private companies use the Red Sea for commercial activity.  We’ve got to call on the private sector to step up as well. 

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t express our condolences to the family and loved ones of retired U.S. employee Abdulhameed Al-Ajami.  He was an elderly man who was detained by the Houthis last November.  There’s no explanation and no justification for his detention or that of any of the other *13 individuals who are being unjustly held by the Houthis.  We condemn this unjust detention of Abdulhameed and the others, many of whom have not been allowed to contact their families.  And the fact that Mr. Al-Ajami had to die away from his family in this circumstance is, indeed, very regrettable.  So we demand the Houthis immediately and unconditionally release these loyal public servants, who are all Yemenis.    

Thank you again for this opportunity and I look forward to your questions.    

Moderator:  Great, thank you, Special Envoy.  We will now begin the question and answer portion of today’s call.  Our first question for today was submitted by Wael Badran from Al Ittihad newspaper in the UAE, and his question is:  “Do you expect this round of talks in Amman to lead to an agreement on opening roads in Taiz and other provinces, and what is your message to the Houthis about this issue?”    

Mr. Lenderking:  Thank you very much, Wael.  I appreciate that question.  I’m pleased that there have been two meetings of the Taiz road committee so far in Amman, and that this represents, in fact, the first official face-to-face meetings between the conflict parties in a number of years.  That’s positive.  We also know that this is a difficult issue.    

That said, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, the United States very strongly believes that there is a humanitarian imperative behind opening the roads in Taiz.  You have a city – as I mentioned, Yemen’s third-largest city – with a substantial population in that governorate that is cut off from services, cut off from other family members, and cut off from medical access as well, water resources, and that it’s urgent in the U.S. view that this matter be taken up urgently and that an agreement be reached soon, during this two-month period while the truce is still in effect, that would allow access in and out of Taiz on very, very specific roads that are being discussed.    

So we really support what the UN is doing to bring these parties together, and we’re going to need some outside support as well, outside muscle, I think to help the parties reach the best compromise that they can.  But again, this is an urgent matter for the United States.  Taiz city, as you know, has been living under siege-like conditions since 2015, and some of the worst rates of civilian casualties and humanitarian need that exist in the country.  So we must all act to see that this is done expeditiously.    

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Nadia Bilbassy from Al Arabiya.  Operator, please open the line.    

Question:  Hi, Tim.  Hi, Geraldine.  Can you hear me well?  

Mr. Lenderking:  Hello, Nadia.    

Question:  Hi.  Good to hear from you, Tim.  I just want to follow up on a question before, because there is some reports coming from Amman, despite all the optimism of keeping the ceasefire, that actually the talks are on the verge of collapsing, and the Houthis have been unreasonable in their demands, as it was reported.  So you think, as you said, opening the road to Taiz is vital for humanitarian operations.  Do you see this as a setback or do you see it as just normal considering this is the first face-to-face meeting between the two parties?    

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, I think there are some very hard issues that are being grappled with for the first time in many years, and they’re being grappled with seriously.  I would point to the Taiz road committee, and I would also point to the military committee that is meeting that brings together representatives of Saudi Arabia, the Yemen Government, and the Houthis – also meeting for the first time in years as military representatives, and I think that that is also a very promising start.   

But it is just a start.  I mean, the meetings and the gathering together of the conflict parties is very important, but they also need to achieve results.  It’s not just in Taiz, but it’s also keeping the other elements of the truce going, not to be provoking the other side through any tactical military maneuvers, not to be slowing down the rate of fuel ships offloading their cargo in Hodeidah, and keeping the tempo of the commercial flights open.  

So those are things I think we have to continue to see in addition to Taiz.  So I remain very cautiously optimistic, Nadia, because I think we’ve seen a lot of progress.  When you look at where we have come from since the truce was declared and announced on June 1st, twice the parties have publicly conveyed their support to the truce.  You have numerous countries around the region, including Iran and Saudi Arabia both welcoming the truce.  You have the OIC and other large multilateral groups that are welcoming and supporting the truce – the UN Security Council, the P5.  I mean, this kind of unity I think is something that we have not seen bringing to bear its leverage on the political – on these political tracks and on elements of the truce.  And so we’re going to need to call on all those parties plus the regional actors – the Qataris, the UAE, the Omanis – to continue to wedge in from the outside to support the parties to reach the best possible outcomes.    

Moderator:  Our next question was submitted by Abdulhadi Habtor from Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, and his question is:  “What is the next step after the truce, and are there any indications of an inclusive peace process?”    

Mr. Lenderking:  I think there are three things that we’re looking at, Abdulhadi.  One is, of course, securing the truce; that is, to ensure that over the next two months, till August 2nd, the elements of the truce that have already been identified – the ships, the flights, the military side, the roads – which are really the pillars of the truce as it was rolled over in this renewal period without any changes to the terms.  So to ensure that those elements are secured, number one.  Then I think we can begin to talk about the durable ceasefire, and that brings in elements such as monitors and a – stepped-up military exchanges to ensure that any violations are dealt with appropriately, that military leaders on all sides have immediate access to each other.  And of course, we’re seeing the start of that through the military committee that is meeting in Amman.  

And then lastly, and I think this is the key to all of it, is really the conversation – the conversations that need to happen between Yemenis to decide the future of their country.  That’s not something that the United States would be directly involved in.  We would support from the outside, as we expect others.  This is a Yemeni-Yemeni conversation building on the consultations that the UN envoy has convened in Amman, the Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue that took place in Riyadh under GCC auspices in March and April.  More opportunities need to be created for Yemenis to get together in a structured fashion to build on this platform that’s being created to move toward a durable solution to this conflict.    

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Michel Ghandour from Al Hurra.  Operator, [inaudible] line.  

Question:  Yeah, hi.  Thank you for doing this.  First, did you see President Hadi when you visited Saudi Arabia or in – during your last trip to the region?  And what is the U.S. plan in these two months to do to push the peace process?  And what role has Saudi Arabia and Iran played to extend the truce?    

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you, Michel.  I personally did not see President Hadi on this trip.  We spent a short period in Riyadh and then we went down to meet the new leadership of the Presidential Leadership Council.  My colleagues at the Yemen Affairs Unit in Riyadh are in touch with the Hadi family, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him and/or his family in the very near future.  We are supporting the efforts of the UN-led truce, as I mentioned.  We do think that the more building blocks that we can get into place in a short period of time are essential for demonstrating to Yemenis the kind of tangible impact of the truce and how it’s bringing respite and relief to their lives.    

It also makes it more difficult for the parties to backtrack, to walk back on the commitments that are made.  Who wants to be the first person in Yemen to say these flights aren’t going to continue?  Who is going to dare to do that?  Who is going to start firing cross-border when there has been a period of calm that has allowed Yemenis to move around and allowed calm to prevail on the Saudi-Yemen border for the first time in years?  Who is going to dare to create problems for fuel ships providing a vital lifeline to Yemenis inside Yemen so that hospitals can be powered, so that the lights can stay on, so that humanitarian supplies can be transported around the country?    

So I feel very strongly that the more that the parties fulfill their obligations to the truce and that we build on that toward the kind of durable process that I – peace process that I’ve talked about, it makes it harder for any of the parties to backtrack and move away from the commitments that they themselves have publicly committed to.  

Lastly, with regard to Iran, I was very pleased that Iran welcomed the truce.  That was a very good sign.  I would like to see, I think the United States would like to see Iran play a positive role in Yemen.  Hitherto they have not done so.  On the contrary, they have fueled the conflict, they have armed and trained and encouraged the Houthis to fire at civilian targets in their own country and in Saudi Arabia and in neighboring countries.  They have helped smuggle lethal material into Yemen.  This is not the direction that this – that Yemen needs to go.  Yemen is trying to turn its corner away from a devastating conflict and move toward peace.  So let Iran support that effort; that is something that we would welcome.    

Moderator:  Our next question was submitted by Manal Sharaf from Almushahid in Yemen, and her question is:  “What are the angles the United States is focusing on as part of the efforts to solve the Yemeni crisis, and have you discussed economic issues in your meeting with Yemeni and regional officials?”    

Mr. Lenderking:  Yes, indeed.  Thank you.  I’ve mentioned the cornerstone elements of the truce and the durable ceasefire which should be the next goal and the pivot to political talks.  Those are really the key elements here, but there’s – there’s a lot of other activity I think that needs to be prioritized.  And of course, economic and humanitarian support for Yemen is part of the United States dual track, right, to helping resolve this conflict: one is the political process, but two is ensuring that humanitarian supplies continue to reach, and indeed, that donors continue to prioritize Yemen even as we deal with very compelling humanitarian tragedies in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia just to name some of the others.   

But there’s no – there’s no reason we cannot take on several crises at the same time.  And I strongly believe that Yemen sorely needs the kind of assistance that we demonstrated when we announced $585 million for humanitarian assistance, the largest donor so far this year.  Hey, any country wants to beat us out on that – take it.  We challenge you to do more than the United States has done.    

But similarly on the economic track, the new government, the Presidential Leadership Council needs more support.  They are a new – a new government.  They have moved inside Yemen, which is – which is a new development.  As you know, the previous government was largely outside of Yemen.  Having visited and seen their surroundings, there are security concerns.  There are livelihood challenges there.  And so I think the more that can be done to equip the Yemen leadership to do projects that continue to demonstrate the Yemen Government’s commitment to the Yemeni people, its ability to get things done.  I know that that’s their priority, but they need some support from the Gulf countries in particular to do that.    

We were very grateful for the very generous support announced by the UAE and Saudi Arabia of a package of economic and humanitarian support of more than $3 billion.  That money needs to be disbursed on a regular basis so that the Yemen Government can plan and, in fact, execute the kind of reforms and policies: salaries for civil servants, revitalizing and maintaining the Yemeni fishing industry, getting the liquid natural gas flowing again from the plant in Shabwah province.  That is a key piece of the Yemen economy.  So continuing to work in a focused way and with international support is going to be vital to all of the kinds of reforms and initiatives and progress that we’re talking about.    

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Elizabeth Hagedorn from Al-Monitor.  Operator, please open the lines.   

Question:  Hi, thanks for taking my question.  On the Safer, given the Houthis’ track record of denying access to the vessel and reneging on past agreements, is there any reason to believe that the Houthis this time around will be more cooperative when it comes to the UN’s plan?  Thanks.   

Mr. Lenderking:  Yeah, thank you, Elizabeth.  We feel that the truce has provided a more positive environment.  I mean, again, the conflict parties in different – in different channels are talking to each other in a way that they have not for several years.  That’s all to the good.    

Of course, the *Yemenis have obstructed over the years – they’ve made it impossible for UN inspectors to get on board the vessel to assess its condition, which we know is very bad.  It’s already over 40 years old.  It’s been not maintained since the conflict started.  There’s just a skeleton crew to provide basic maintenance on board the ship.  But a cigarette butt, the discharge of a weapon, a rough wave crashing over the bow – this is going to spill that oil into the Red Sea, which will create a spill that’s four times worse than the Exxon Valdez in 1989.    

So it really is an urgent matter.  And we’re very pleased that the Houthis and the UN came to an agreement in March that would allow the oil to be offloaded onto a more secure vessel.  That’s all that’s been agreed to, but that does remove the immediate environmental threat.  The question of what happens to the oil and how the old ship gets towed away would need to be dealt with in the second phase.  We need $80 million to get this oil offloaded onto a more secure vessel.    

As soon as that money is pledged, there’s a team that’s ready to swing into action, bring another vessel alongside this offer, offload the oil, and we are significantly along the way to reaching the $80 million but we are still short.  We’re still short of essential funds.  And so I’m making a major effort in coordination with the UN to appeal to the private sector and additionally to other governments whose either economic or tourism or fisheries or shipping industries would be affected by an oil spill.  So we need to keep up a full court press on this.      

Moderator:  Our next question was submitted by Ahmed Al Bulushi from the Oman News Agency, and his question is:  “What is the U.S. assessment of the Omani role under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham in bringing parties concerned to the negotiating table to come up with a peaceful solution?”  

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you very much.  The Sultanate of Oman has played a very helpful role in this effort to end this conflict, first in securing the truce.  You’ve seen that I have traveled to Muscat almost as much as any other country, and that is because we really very much respect the way that the Omanis are supporting the UN-led effort and providing their own offices to influence things in a positive direction.  And so we very much welcome the role that – that Oman is playing and are determined to see its continuing to do so.  That’s a very – that’s a very positive situation.  

The Secretary and the Oman foreign minister just spoke the last – in the last couple of days.  They have a very good channel to communicate on issues, and I’m very, very confident that Oman will continue to play this very positive role.  And we thank the sultan directly for his – for the commitment that he is demonstrating to help end this conflict.  

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Nicholas Niarchos from Time magazine.  Operator, please open the line.  

Question:  Hello, Special Envoy Lenderking, and thank you so much for doing this.  President Biden pledged, when he came to power, to use the might of U.S. diplomacy to end the war.  How important do you believe that U.S. diplomacy has been in achieving these two truces?  And can you give any specific examples of efforts that bore fruit?   

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you very much.  I mean, honestly, I think the U.S. role has been indispensable here both in providing support to the UN team.  Much of it is behind the scenes, but much of it is very public.  I think the Secretary of State personally has – his interventions have been critical and in bringing about elements of the truce that were very difficult to achieve and looking elusive at one point.    

I think the fact that the President took the risk of prioritizing the Yemen conflict among others has borne fruit.  And I think that the international community has responded very well to United States leadership and diplomatic engagement on this file.  So when we look at our humanitarian contribution, as I mentioned, being the largest this year, but historically we’re talking about $4.5 billion over the term of the conflict, I think our engagement with the Saudis, with the Government of Oman, with the UAE in particular have been very, very, very strong and very impactful.    

I also think that the kind of support specifically that we have had with the Government of Jordan, the Government of Egypt, bringing them in in a very welcoming fashion to help implement the truce I think was a critical, critical engagement.    

So overall, I see that the U.S. has provided – played a pivotal role in developing an international consensus, uniting EU efforts with P5 efforts with GCC efforts so that there’s a wall of support and sort of closing off the outlets through which those who want to destabilize this conflict can escape.  And so I feel that there is this very important progress, and the U.S., as I said at the beginning, is in it for the long haul to see it through.    

Moderator:  Our next question was submitted by Hazem Ayyad from Assabeel news in Jordan, and his question is:  “What are the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of making progress in reaching a political solution, and do you think current efforts will lead to a comprehensive regional political solution or end up dividing Yemen into a northern and southern state?”  

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you very much.  I am, as I say, optimistic in the sense that as we look at the progress that’s been made over the last few months, I think it really is quite remarkable.  I mean, at the start of the year, we were – we were – saw – we saw over 400 attacks from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.  We had the January attacks in the UAE on civilian targets.  Indeed, things look very, very dire.    

But a number of factors, I think, came into play.  I think strong diplomatic engagement.  I think the fact that the Houthis were not able to take Marib over the course of a year and a half despite the tremendous resources that they threw at that particular conflict.  And I look at other engagements, and the fact that the truce was publicly endorsed by all the neighboring countries and by the P5 and a groundswell, really, of international support to really see this conflict brought to an end.  

And I think we’ve helped the parties make some tough compromises.  Our engagement with the Yemen Government, with the parties in Yemen and, indeed, with the Saudi leadership I think has been very, very instrumental in getting us where we are.  And again, as you’re from Amman, I can’t thank the Government of Jordan enough for the support that they have provided both hosting Yemen’s – many of Yemen’s humanitarian community but also the crucial role that Jordan is playing in the issue of commercial flights. 
So put that all together, I feel cautiously optimistic.  I know that, having worked on this file for a long time, how challenging the issues are inside Yemen.  We have by no means achieved peace.  We have not ended this war.  We have to use the current momentum to push forward to reach into these other areas: durable truce, political talks.  These are the ways and the channels through which we get an ultimate end to the conflict.  

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Ellen Knickmeyer from the Associated Press.  Operator, please open the line.  

Question:  Hi.  Thank you for doing this.  What do you think, if anything, has changed in kind of the Houthi outlook on whether they want to keep prosecuting the war or not?  Do you – do you have any firm indications that they actually are interested in trying to reach a political agreement now?  

Mr. Lenderking:  I think I recognize the steps that the Houthis have taken also to support the truce, to agree to it, to commit to the Yemeni people – indeed, to the international community – to abide by the terms of the truce.  We would like to see them now implement some of the proposals regarding access roads in Taiz.  Those are very important steps that the Houthis can take to demonstrate to Yemenis and to the international community that they can make compromises as well.  

And I do think that, collectively, we’ll have to continue to incentivize them to do that.  This is a demand of the Yemenis, by the way – it’s not just the international community – because of the siege-like conditions that prevail in Taiz.  So I think, again, continued international support, focused, keeping donors energized by the prospect that real change and positive changes happening in Yemen will make donors more likely and more attracted, I think, to providing the kind of humanitarian and economic support.  So again, this is a real opportunity, provided that these various – that the progress being made continues and we continue to see international support for these efforts.  

Moderator:  Our next question will go to Matthew Martin from Bloomberg.  Operator, please open the line.  

Question:  Hi.  Yeah.  Thanks for your time and in speaking about this.  I just wanted to ask if you could talk a little bit.  You mentioned, obviously, that the U.S. has put a great amount of diplomatic effort into trying to resolve this conflict.  Do you see that as also playing a role in helping to resolve some of the tensions in the Saudi-U.S. relationship?  And secondly, as well, I was wondering what role you see the Saudi-Iran bilateral talks having in helping to sort of set an atmosphere for creating a lasting peace deal in Yemen?  Thanks.  

Mr. Lenderking:  Yeah, thank you.  I mean, I think resolving the Yemen conflict is a core – a core challenge and desire of both Saudi Arabia and the United States.  And I do think that the Saudis have engaged very positively since I was appointed.  I’ve probably been to Riyadh 15 or 16 times.  I think the Saudis have shown interest and commitment, have made some tough, tough compromises here that would not have been possible, in fact, a year ago.  And of course this is – this is a fusing together of Saudi and U.S. priorities.    

So I see this as a very rich area for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to continue to make progress, and I see that this has positive impact on the relationship.  And I think the fact that Saudi Arabia played a critical role in securing an extension of the truce, first announcing and then extending, has been evident.  This has generated one of the most peaceful periods in this conflict.  Our challenge, of course, is to make sure that it’s not temporary but that it continues.    

I think that the channels that Saudi Arabia has with Iran bode well potentially for the Yemen conflict.  My understanding is that there is a considerable amount – a way to go in those talks.  But the fact that these rivals, if you will, in the region are talking constructively about crises and issues that have plagued them for many years, I’m very hopeful that this will produce benefit for the Yemen conflict.  And so we encourage both the Saudis and the Iranians to keep this dialogue going.  Where it all has to lead, of course: ceasefire and political talks.  And when we get to that point, again, the international community – both the immediate neighbors of Yemen but the broader Middle Eastern community and Europe and the Security Council – will need to provide continued support for this effort.  

Moderator:  Our last question will go to Samira Frimeche from Annahar newspaper in Kuwait, and her question is:  “Has the truce achieved the desired goal?”  

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you very much.  I think the U.S. has – sorry, the truce has achieved the desired goal.  But it’s only – it’s only one step.  And so I would leave you with the thought that the truce is a very powerful achievement.  Again, if you look at where we were even a few months ago to where we are now with the engagements, with the battlefield being mostly calm, with no cross-border attacks since just before April, civilian casualties are way down.  I mean, if you look at charts that show fighting in Yemen and civilian casualties, they drop off a cliff on April 2nd.  And that’s why I think, again, you can point to tangible benefit to Yemenis, real, real outcomes, real benefits to the Yemenis.    

But again, this is a first step.  We need to move to a permanent ceasefire and then to the political talks that would allow Yemenis to decide their future.  And the United States will remain fully committed, redouble our efforts to help make this happen.  

Moderator:  Great.  Special Envoy, do you have any closing remarks?  

Mr. Lenderking:  Well, thank you again for your time, everybody.  I do again feel that this is a hopeful moment.  I think a great deal has been accomplished in the last few months.  I think many, many supporters of the – of ending the Yemen conflict have put real skin in the game, if you will.  But I do emphasize that we have not yet achieved peace in Yemen.  This war has not ended.  It’s a lull.  It’s a break.  It’s a truce.  We need to continue building.  We need to continue the types of contacts that are going and push toward a durable solution to the conflict and keep the elements of the truce that have so far not been implemented, such as the Taiz roads.  We need to see action there as well as we continue the flights, the military quiet, and the fuel ships.    

So thank you very much for your time and attention to this really important issue and U.S. priority.  

Moderator:  That concludes today’s call.  We would like to thank U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking for joining us and thank all of our callers for participating.  If you have any questions about today’s call, you can contact the Dubai Regional Media Hub at  Information on how to access the English recording of this call will be provided by AT&T shortly.  Thank you for joining us, and have a great day.  

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*Correction 1: 12 individuals  

*Correction 2: Houthis  

U.S. Department of State

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