The United States is pressuring Saudi Arabia to accept a ceasefire in Yemen and allow the country to rebuild itself in accordance with pressure from the United Nations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.
"It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The U.S. official left it to the Iran-aligned Houthis to make the first move and call an end to their missile launches, suggesting the two opposite groups solve their difference through peaceful dialogue.
U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths cheered the initiative, encouraging each party “to seize this opportunity to engage constructively,” adding that "dialogue remains the only path to reach an inclusive agreement."
"We remain committed to bring the Yemeni parties to the negotiations table within a month," Griffiths said.
The scourge of the three-year conflict has left over 17,000 civilians dead or wounded, 14 million people struggling at the brink of starvation, and a destroyed health system. Consequently, over a million individuals are fighting otherwise preventable diseases, human rights organizations say.
At the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said, “Thirty days from now, we want to see everybody around a peace table, based on a cease-fire, based on a pullback from the border...That is the only way we are going to solve this.”
The U.N. recently launched an investigation into 11 incidents of heavy civilian casualties caused in air strikes by the Western-backed Saudi forces.
Earlier this week Oxfam said a civilian is being killed every three hours in Yemen. Between August 1 and October 15, it registered 575 civilian casualties, including 136 children. On Thursday, one Saudi airstrike on a market near the port city of Hodeida killed at least 21 civilians, according to United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande.