The US president see Washington “playing a more active and engaged role” to end the war through talks, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at a White House briefing.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, February 4, 2021, in Washington.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, February 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said that President Joe Biden will announce an end to US support for a grinding five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen that has deepened humanitarian suffering in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country.

The move would fulfill a campaign pledge by Biden, whose administration plans to pursue diplomacy to end the overall conflict in Yemen. Biden sees the United States “playing a more active and engaged role” to end the war through talks, Sullivan said at a White House briefing.

READ MORE: Moral dilemma: Should Biden’s administration reverse course on Yemen?

Biden also is announcing the choice of Timothy Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen as soon as Thursday afternoon, when the president is due to speak at the State Department. A person familiar with the matter confirmed the selection, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement. 

The Gulf-based newspaper The National first reported the pick.

Lenderking has been a deputy assistant secretary of state in the agency’s Middle East section. A career foreign service member, he has served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Houthis hail Biden’s decision as step towards ending war

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels welcomed President Joe Biden's plans to end US support for offensive operations in Yemen, saying it was a step towards ending the long conflict.

"We hope this will be the beginning of a decision to stop the war on Yemen," senior Huthi political official Hamid Assem told AFP. "America's reputation has been tarnished by the killing of the people of Yemen."

READ MORE: How Saudi Arabia surrendered its influence in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia began the offensive in 2015 to counter a Yemeni Houthi faction that had seized territory in Yemen and was launching cross-border missiles at Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: The Yemen war’s forgotten victim: education

A Saudi-led air campaign since then has killed numerous Yemeni civilians, despite US assistance with the Saudi military’s command and control that US officials say was meant to minimize civilian casualties in the bombing campaign. The Obama administration initially greenlighted the Saudi-led offensive. Some of the US officials involved have since said they regret that decision, and are now in the Biden administration as it moves to stop US involvement and end the multiparty conflict.

Survivors display fragments showing the bombs to be American-made. The conflict also has deepened hunger and poverty in Yemen, and international rights experts say both the Gulf countries and Houthis have committed severe rights abuses.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies