The US State Department accused the Houthis of wasting a major opportunity to show commitment to peace, and renewed its commitment to work to end the war in Yemen, while Saudi Arabia offered an initiative for dialogue with the Yemeni factions, at a time when violent battles continue between the Yemeni army and the Houthis in Marib.

The US State Department said in a statement that "the talks of the US special envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking in Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and Jordan stressed the need to ease all restrictions in the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa airport, and to reach a comprehensive ceasefire."

She added that the Houthis missed a major opportunity to demonstrate commitment to peace by refusing to meet with the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths in the Omani capital, Muscat.

The ministry stated that the Houthi militants are contributing to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen by continuing the attack on Marib, which exacerbates the deteriorating conditions of the displaced Yemenis.

The US State Department indicated that the permanent members of the Security Council agreed that a ceasefire is the only way to provide permanent relief to the Yemeni people.

Al-Jazeera correspondent in Washington, Muhammad Al-Ahmad, said that Washington confirmed that despite the diplomatic efforts made to resolve the crisis in Yemen, there has been no breakthrough, and the reason - according to the US State Department statement - relates to the intransigence of the Houthis.

He added that the United States considers ending the war in Yemen a humanitarian priority, but the Houthis refuse to communicate with the UN envoy to reach a ceasefire agreement, and are determined to continue the fighting in Marib.

Saudi initiative

While the fighting continues in Marib, Saudi Arabia called on the Yemeni government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council for dialogue in Riyadh, days after the transitional council vowed to proceed with achieving its goal of seceding southern Yemen from its north, and threatening to escalate against the Yemeni government in the coming days.

"We are waiting for the return of the transitional council to Riyadh to complete the implementation of the Riyadh agreement," the director of the presidency office, Abdullah Al-Alimi, said during a press conference held via videoconferencing.

According to Al-Alimi, the Riyadh agreement did not fail. Rather, it needs to be strengthened and implemented for the remainder of its provisions, especially with regard to the military aspect.

He explained that the Yemeni presidency is keen on the government’s return to the temporary capital, Aden, pointing out that the departure of its president, Maeen Abdul Malik, from Medina to some governorates comes as part of the government's tasks to conduct an inspection tour.

In the context, the Yemeni presidency expressed its acceptance of holding direct negotiations with the Houthi group and the opening of Sana'a airport and the port of Hodeidah in conjunction with the immediate ceasefire.

Al-Alimi said that the Yemeni government was not represented in the recent negotiations led by the UN envoys Martin Griffiths and the American Timothy Lenderking in the Sultanate of Oman for a ceasefire in Yemen.

He stressed that the Yemeni government is open to any efforts to stop the Houthi attack on Marib, which has resulted in the deaths of about 2,400 government forces and tribesmen allied with them and wounding 5,000 others since last January.

According to Al-Alimi, since the beginning of this year, the Houthis launched 93 missiles, 360 shells and 257 explosive and reconnaissance aircraft inside Yemen, indicating that these military capabilities came with Iranian support.

Fierce battles

On the ground, military sources said that "the Yemeni army repelled an infiltration attempt by Houthi militants in the Al-Mashjah area in the Sarwah district in Marib, and the Huwaishan area on the road between the governorates of Ma'rib and Al-Jawf."

The sources added that the dead and wounded from both sides were killed in the attack, in which the two sides used various weapons, noting that the army artillery bombed the Houthi militia sites on the Al-Mashjah and Al-Kassara fronts and other fronts in the Sarwah district, west of the Ma'rib governorate.

For its part, Houthi media reported that the Saudi-Emirati coalition forces launched raids on the group's sites in the west of the governorate, without giving further details about the results of those strikes.

Since February 7, the Houthis have intensified their attacks in Marib to control it as it is the most important stronghold of the Yemeni government and the main headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, in addition to its enjoyment of oil and gas wealth.

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