LONDON: Saudi Arabia has been engaged productively in trying to bring the war in Yemen to an end, the US Secretary of State said on Sunday.
The Kingdom announced a widely-welcomed peace initiative in March. The plan included a nationwide cease-fire, the reopening of Sanaa airport, easing restrictions on Hodeidah port, and the resumption of negotiations to end the conflict.
However, the Iran-backed Houthis have ignored the plan and pushed forward with an offensive in Marib and attacked Saudi Arabia with explosive drones.
Blinken said the militia was still holding out as the conflict drags on.
“We need to see the same kind of response from the Houthis who continue to hold out, and Iran should use the influence it has to move them in that direction,” Blinken said ahead of a visit to the region.
Speaking about the nuclear deal during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Blinken said that after five rounds of indirect conversations talks in Vienna, the US has made progress in clarifying what each side needs to do to get back into full compliance.
However, he said that whether Iran is willing to do what is necessary to come back into compliance with the agreement remains to be seen.
The secretary of state added that if the US succeeds in getting Iran to comply with the nuclear deal, it would engage on other issues such as Iran’s support for terrorism and its destabilising activities in the region.
“We are fully prepared to go back to the original deal as it was. That’s our initial objective. And we – again, we don’t know if the Iranians are. If we do, if we succeed in that, then we can use that as a foundation both to look at how we can make the deal itself potentially longer and stronger, and also engage on these other issues, whether it’s Iran’s support for terrorism, its proliferation, its destabilizing support for different proxies throughout the Middle East.”
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