WASHINGTON (AA) – The Black Sea grain initiative has been “critical” to addressing hunger in Yemen, a senior US official said Tuesday.
US Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for humanitarian assistance, Sarah Charles, emphasized to lawmakers that Yemen historically relied heavily on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia, and said the continuation of the imports is a critical lifeline for Yemenis.
US Special Envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, said Yemen is at a “critical moment.”
“We must preserve the positive momentum and gains made since April,” he said. “This includes condemning recent Houthi attacks and increasing our calls for a Yemeni-led inclusive political process.”
He said a series of recent attacks by Houthis threatening international maritime shipping was “worrying.”
Last month, days before its scheduled expiration, the landmark grain deal signed in Istanbul in July by Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine, was extended for another 120 days, beginning Nov. 19.
Yemen’s civil war began in September 2014 when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the war in early 2015 to restore the government to power.
The eight-year conflict has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with millions risking starvation.