WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – More than 70 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday urging him to "publicly pressure” Saudi Arabia into ending its "unconscionable” blockade on Yemen.
The letter, led by Congressmen Ro Khanna, Mark Pocan, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, said while ongoing negotiations should be supported, ending the blockade should be treated as a separate issue.
"We ask you to take additional steps to publicly pressure Saudi Arabia to lift this blockade immediately, unilaterally, and comprehensively,” the letter read.
"We strongly support a comprehensive political settlement that addresses all aspects of the conflict, including a nationwide ceasefire, currency stabilization, and payment of government salaries.
"At the same time, a U.S. demand to end the blockade must occur independently of negotiations.”
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, chiefly the United Arab Emirates, started a bombing campaign against the impoverished nation in March 2015. The coalition also introduced an air and naval blockade that has exacerbated the living conditions in the country.
The UN and several human rights groups have said the blockade has heavily restricted the flow of aid and goods coming into the country, putting millions at risk of famine.
"The blockade has been a leading driver of Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe since 2015 and has contributed to shortages of fuel, affordable food, clean water, electricity and transportation,” Khanna, Pocan, and Dingell said in a statement.
A similar letter to Biden was sent on Tuesday by a coalition of more than 70 humanitarian and rights groups and was signed by dozens of activists.
"This moral imperative requires the United States to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift this blockade immediately, unilaterally, and comprehensively,” the groups’ letter read.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni army said late on Tuesday it launched a fresh drone strike on a major airbase in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s ongoing military aggression and blockade against the war-torn impoverished country.
Spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced that army troops and allied fighters from Popular Committees had hit sensitive targets in King Khalid airbase in the Saudi city of Khamis Mushait, some 884 kilometers south of the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network cited Saree as saying that the retaliatory attack was carried out by two of the country’s domestically-developed Qasef-2K (Striker-2K) combat drones.
Saree stressed that the strike was "accurate,” and said the attack came in response to the continuing aggression and brutal siege on his country.
Yemen’s Air Force carried out a number of operations against sensitive and important sites in Saudi Arabia last month, targeting Abha International Airport as well as the King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushait.
Yemenis have stepped up their attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months, saying the retaliatory strikes will continue as long as Riyadh carries on with its airstrikes and blockade.