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Tim Lenderking, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, expressed optimism about pursuing diplomatic solutions during a press briefing. He emphasized the importance of finding peaceful resolutions and potentially lifting the terrorist designation, provided there is a halt in the Houthi attacks and military strikes against them.

Despite recent airstrikes targeting Houthi facilities in Yemen, there has been no significant reduction in the group's missile and drone assaults on merchant vessels and warships. While acknowledging some degradation in Houthi military capabilities, the U.S. remains committed to exploring diplomatic avenues.

When questioned about potential negotiations with the Houthis, Lenderking stated that any such discussions would be carefully considered but not guaranteed. This suggests that any offer to revoke the terrorist designation would be contingent upon genuine progress toward peace and security in the region.

The designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group was announced by the U.S. State Department in mid-January, following joint military strikes with the UK in response to attacks on shipping. These attacks, initiated by the Houthis in mid-November, have disrupted maritime traffic in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, leading to a significant rerouting of shipping routes and impacting global trade.

The Houthis' actions, purportedly aimed at pressuring Israel over conflicts in Gaza, have resulted in casualties and economic disruption. Despite international condemnation, the group remains steadfast in its commitment to continuing such attacks.

Efforts to de-escalate tensions and facilitate peace talks have been ongoing, with Oman playing a crucial role as a mediator between Western powers and the Houthis. Lenderking's discussions with Omani officials, as well as previous talks in Saudi Arabia, highlight the diplomatic efforts to address the Yemeni conflict.

The release of hostages, such as the crew members of the hijacked ship Galaxy Leader, is seen as a potential gesture of goodwill by the Houthis. Such actions could pave the way for the resumption of UN-mediated peace talks, which have stalled since October.

As Yemen continues to grapple with a decade-long civil war, the focus remains on achieving a lasting ceasefire and promoting stability in the region. Saudi Arabia, a key player in the conflict, seeks to implement a ceasefire agreement reached with the Houthis, aiming to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and restore peace to the war-torn country.