Secretary Antony J. Blinken and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (In progress) true evil that we’ve seen inflicted on Israel over the last few days.  And he was very clear that we stand with Israel.  And that’s a message that he’s asked me to carry directly to our Israeli partners when I travel to the region a little bit later this week.

In the meantime, we’re also very engaged with partners throughout the region, as well as of course looking out for American citizens, families who have had loved ones killed or have loved ones missing.  I’ll have a lot more to say about that tomorrow and in the days ahead.

For today, I also want to say that even as we are very focused on what we’ve seen in Israel and everything that we’re doing to make sure that we have Israel’s back, we are not losing sight of the many other challenges we face.  And from day one, one of those challenges has been to support efforts to bring a durable peace to Yemen.

In that effort, what we’ve seen over the last 18 or so months is a truce that has materially improved the lives of Yemenis, as imperfect as it’s been.  And the challenge now is to turn that truce into a durable peace.  And to that end, I’m very grateful for the work of UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg – I’m very delighted to see him here today – so that we have an opportunity to compare notes on where we are on Yemen, the work that’s being done, including the encouraging work being done between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis – recent visit, second visit to Riyadh by the Houthi delegation – and ultimately, the work that needs to be done with the patronage of the United Nations to bring Yemenis together to forge a durable peace.  Our ability to achieve that can take the gains that have already been made through the truce and make them enduring, and dramatically change the lives of the Yemeni people.

That’s what we’re working toward; that’s what we’re working on.

With that, let me say it’s a pleasure, Hans, to have you here today.

MR GRUNDBERG:  Thank you very much, Secretary.  And equally I’m very happy – good afternoon, everyone; I’m happy to be here today to meet with Secretary Blinken, and also to engage in important discussions about where we stand on Yemen and make sure that we take the necessary step forward at this particular moment.  I’m very much looking forward to a constructive meeting that is in support of the United Nations peace mediation efforts.  And I think, exactly as you mentioned, Secretary, it’s important that we all remind ourselves that we’ve made considerable progress these last couple of years on the Yemeni file.  And very much thanks to the collective effort of the international community.

I remain grateful for the support of the United States, of you, Secretary, and also in order to advance a inclusive and Yemeni-led political process under the auspices of the United Nations.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

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