Near East

  • U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Lenderking’s Travel to Saudi Arabia
    by Office of the Spokesperson on June 15, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Office of the Spokesperson U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking will travel to Saudi Arabia on June 15-17 where he will meet with senior officials from the Governments of the Republic of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as well as UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.  Throughout the trip, Special Envoy Lenderking will discuss the latest efforts to achieve a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire, which is the only way to bring Yemenis the relief they so urgently need. The United States welcomes the recent Omani trip to Sanaa and the efforts undertaken by the Sultanate to support peace in Yemen.  The United States also recognizes Saudi Arabia’s efforts to advance implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, which is essential to stability, security, and prosperity in the south of Yemen.  Additionally, Special Envoy Lenderking will continue to press for the free flow of essential commodities and humanitarian aid into and throughout Yemen. For any questions, please contact [email protected] and follow us on Twitter @StateDept_NEA .

  • Attack on Hospital in Afrin, Syria
    by Ned Price, Department Spokesperson on June 13, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    Ned Price, Department Spokesperson We condemn in the strongest terms yesterday’s attacks on the al Shifaa Hospital in Afrin, Syria. This barbaric attack took the lives of children, medical staff, and first responders. Civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, must never be the target of military action. Additionally, we note that this hospital’s coordinates have been shared with the UN deconfliction mechanism for Syria. This attack is part of a recent escalation of violence in northwest Syria and must end. The United States calls for an immediate nation-wide ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Syria.  

  • U.S. Sanctions International Network Enriching Houthis in Yemen
    by Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State on June 10, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State Today, the United States is designating Sa’id Ahmad Muhammad al-Jamal and other individuals and entities involved in an international network he has used to provide tens of millions of dollars’ worth of funds to the Houthis in cooperation with senior officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF).  Those in al-Jamal’s network of front companies and intermediaries sell commodities, such as Iranian petroleum, throughout the Middle East and beyond and channel a significant portion of the revenue to the Houthis in Yemen.  We are designating al-Jamal pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.   The 11 other individuals, companies, and vessel sanctioned today play key roles in this illicit network, including Hani ‘Abd-al-Majid Muhammad As’ad, a Yemeni accountant who has facilitated financial transfers to the Houthis, and Jami’ ‘Ali Muhammad, a Houthi and IRGC-QF associate who helped al-Jamal procure vessels, facilitate shipments of fuel, and transfer funds for the benefit of the Houthis.  These 11 individuals, entities, and vessel are being sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13224 for their relationships with al-Jamal and other parts of this network.   The United States is working to help resolve the conflict in Yemen and bring lasting humanitarian relief to the Yemeni people.  The Houthis’ ongoing offensive on Marib runs directly counter to those goals, posing a threat to the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen and potentially triggering increased fighting throughout Yemen.   It is time for the Houthis to accept a ceasefire and for all parties to resume political talks.  Only a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire can bring the urgent relief needed by Yemenis, and only a peace agreement can resolve the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.  The United States will continue to apply pressure to the Houthis, including through targeted sanctions, to advance those goals. Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of State are lifting sanctions on three former Government of Iran officials, and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products, as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties.  These actions demonstrate our commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change in status or behavior by sanctioned persons. For more information on today’s action, please see Treasury press release.  

  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gantz
    by Office of the Spokesperson on June 3, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Office of the Spokesperson The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz.  The Secretary and the Alternate Prime Minister discussed the U.S.-Israel partnership and America’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.  The Secretary reiterated the importance of promoting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike and support for Israel’s right to defend itself.  The Secretary underscored the importance of humanitarian assistance and relief and recovery efforts in Gaza.  The Secretary emphasized the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to enjoy equal measures of security, prosperity, democracy, and dignity.

  • Rule of Law in Iraq
    by Ned Price, Department Spokesperson on May 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Ned Price, Department Spokesperson The United States is outraged that peaceful demonstrators who took to the streets to urge reform were met with threats and brutal violence.  Moreover, the violation of Iraqi sovereignty and rule of law by armed militias harms all Iraqis and their country. We welcome every effort by the government to hold accountable the militias, thugs, and vigilante groups for their attacks against Iraqis exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as well as for their assault on the rule of law. We reaffirm the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to the Iraqi people and a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq.

  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II
    by Office of the Spokesperson on May 27, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Office of the Spokesperson The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today in Amman with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.  The Secretary and King Abdullah II expressed their support for the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and other groups in Gaza and discussed measures to ensure that it holds.  The Secretary also reiterated that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.  The United States will work to advance these goals in tangible ways in the immediate term and looks forward to partnering with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in this regard. The Secretary reiterated the United States’ respect for the special role of Jordan in holy sites in Jerusalem and restated our commitment to the historic status quo at the holy sites. They discussed regional developments, including Iraq and Syria, and the Secretary commended King Abdullah II for Jordan’s leadership supporting peace in the region. They reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Jordan strategic partnership and expressed a shared desire to make it even stronger.

  • Yemen National Day
    by Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State on May 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer bests wishes to the people of Yemen on the occasion of your 31st National Unity Day.  The United States appreciates the Republic of Yemen Government’s ongoing commitments towards achieving peace in Yemen. An inclusive and lasting resolution of this conflict is a top priority for the United States.  I look forward to the continued engagement between our countries and other partners to achieve peace, and I affirm our commitment to helping bring about a prosperous future for all Yemenis.  May you enjoy a celebratory National Unity Day.

  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Palestinian Authority President Abbas
    by Office of the Spokesperson on May 21, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Office of the Spokesperson The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Secretary and President welcomed the ceasefire and discussed measures to ensure that it holds. The Secretary underscored the U.S. commitment to working with the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for Gaza and Gaza reconstruction efforts. The Secretary and President expressed their appreciation for Egypt’s mediation efforts and committed to retaining open lines of communication at all levels. The President welcomed Secretary Blinken’s planned travel to the region, where the Secretary will meet with Palestinian, Israeli, and regional counterparts to discuss relief efforts and working together to build better futures for Palestinians and Israelis.

  • Secretary Blinken’s Calls with Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi
    by Office of the Spokesperson on May 21, 2021 at 1:10 am

    Office of the Spokesperson The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi this morning and again in the afternoon. During their afternoon conversation, the Secretary welcomed the Foreign Minister’s confirmation that the parties had agreed to a ceasefire. Both leaders expressed their appreciation for Egypt’s mediation efforts, and the Secretary noted that he would continue to remain in close touch with his Egyptian counterpart and other regional stakeholders. The Foreign Minister welcomed Secretary Blinken’s planned travel to the region, where the Secretary will meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and regional counterparts in the coming days to discuss recovery efforts and working together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians.

  • The United States Designates Houthi Militants
    by Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State on May 20, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State Today, the United States is taking action against two senior leaders of Houthi forces in Yemen who are involved in military offensives that exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, pose a dire threat to civilians, and destabilize Yemen. In doing so, we are promoting accountability for Houthi actions that perpetuate conflict in Yemen and undermine peace efforts, including the brutal and costly offensive targeting Marib. These actions have come despite an unprecedented consensus among the international community and regional actors on the need for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of peace talks. The Houthis benefit from generous military support from the Iranian government to wage attacks against civilian population centers and commercial shipping infrastructure in Yemen, exacerbating conditions in what the United Nations calls one of the world’s worst current humanitarian disasters. The United States is therefore designating Muhammad Abd Al-Karim al-Ghamari pursuant to E.O. 13611 and designating Yusuf al-Madani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. The Treasury announcement outlining the implications of these sanctions can be seen here: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0191 . Al-Ghamari is being designated for his role in orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians. He most recently took charge of the large-scale Houthi offensive against Yemeni government-held territory in Marib governorate, as well as attacks against Saudi Arabia and neighboring states. The Marib offensive is exacerbating Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, as it puts approximately one million vulnerable internally displaced people at risk of being displaced yet again, threatens to overwhelm an already stretched humanitarian response, and is triggering broader escalation. Al-Madani is being designated for the significant risk he poses of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. Al-Madani is a prominent leader of Houthi forces and is the commander of forces in Al Hudaydah, Hajjah, Al Mahwit, and Raymah, Yemen. As of 2021, al-Madani was assigned to the offensive targeting Marib. Persistent Houthi repositioning and other violations of the ceasefire provisions of the Hudaydah Agreement have destabilized a city that serves as a critical thoroughfare for humanitarian and essential commercial commodities. Additionally, there are regular reports of Houthi attacks impacting civilians and civilian infrastructure in and around Hudaydah, further exacerbating the situation for Yemenis facing some of the highest levels of humanitarian need in the country. We call on the Houthis to immediately cease all attacks and military offensives, especially their offensive against Marib, which only causes more suffering for the Yemeni people. We urge them to refrain from destabilizing actions and to engage in UN Special Envoy’s efforts to achieve peace. It is time to end this conflict.

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