Letter to Honorable Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States - Dingell, Pocan, Khanna Lead 76 Members of Congress in Calling on Biden-Harris Administration to Press For End of Yemeni Blockade


Dear Mr. President:
We greatly appreciate your first steps toward ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen,
including announcing an end to U.S. military participation in offensive Saudi actions; a review of
weapons sales to Saudi Arabia for use in its six-year air war in Yemen; and a revocation of
President Trump's terrorism designation against the Houthis, with the express purpose of
averting a hunger crisis.

However, we remain alarmed by the continuation of Saudi Arabia's unconscionable blockade of
Yemen. Particularly in light of a CNN investigation finding that "the U.S.-backed Saudi
blockade is leading to deadly fuel & food shortages in Yemen, where hospitals are full of
starving children," we urge you to use all available U.S. leverage with the Saudi regime to
demand an immediate and unconditional end to its blockade, which threatens 16
million malnourished Yemenis living on the brink of famine.

We are deeply concerned by CNN's reports that the major port of Hodeidah "is now a ghost
town," and that "hundreds of food aid trucks sit parked in a line stretching for miles," without
fuel, as their cargo spoils. "Saudi warships have not allowed any oil tankers to berth
at Hodeidah since the start of the year," CNN reporter Nima Elbagir observed, citing the World
Food Programme, which documented that more than a dozen ships carrying 350,000 metric tons
of commercial fuel have been prevented from entering Yemen for over two months. On March
12th, the UN Secretary General's office confirmed that "no commercial fuel imports were
allowed through Hodeidah Port" last month, "the first time since the escalation of the conflict in
2015 that we have seen the level drop to zero."

According to the UN, 400,000 children under the age of 5 could die from hunger this year
without urgent action. The Saudi blockade has long been a leading driver of Yemen's
humanitarian catastrophe, triggering recent fuel shortages, inflation and greatly reducing access to food, water, electricity, and transportation. The blockade also threatens
to imminently close down hospitals reliant on power generators to care
for famine victims, making emergency travel to hospitals prohibitively expensive, condemning
untold numbers of children to die at home.

On March 11th, addressing the UN Security Council, World Food Programme Executive
Director David Beasley warned, "most hospitals only have electricity in their intensive care units
because fuel reserves are so low." He pleaded: "It is hell on earth in many places in Yemen right
now," and concluded, "That blockade must be lifted, as a humanitarian act. Otherwise, millions
more will spiral into crisis."

Former CIA analyst and Middle East policy expert Bruce Riedel describes the ongoing blockade
as "an offensive military operation that kills civilians." Given its continued imposition, we are
concerned by the administration's portrayal of Saudi Arabia as "committed and eager to find a
solution to the conflict." While U.S. special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking has argued that
Saudi Arabia is "ready to sit down to negotiate an end to the conflict" with the Houthis, "during
which access to ports and other issues could be addressed and resolved," every day that we
wait for these issues to be resolved in negotiations is another day that pushes more children to
the brink of death. Tens of thousands more people may die before negotiations over the blockade
even begin.

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, particularly given that recent Saudi bombings of Sana'a and the Houthis' offensive
on Marib have cast the fate of those talks into doubt. Riedel warns that "linking lifting the
blockade to a ceasefire is a recipe for prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people. The two
issues need to be decoupled."

We ask you to take additional steps to publicly pressure Saudi Arabia to lift this blockade
immediately, unilaterally, and comprehensively. This must include guaranteeing that
humanitarian and commercial imports can freely enter Yemen; entrusting security oversight to
the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM); fully permitting flights in
and out of Sana'a airport; and ensuring that and crossings for commercial and civilian traffic are
permanently opened.
Thank you again for your previous actions to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen
and resolve the country's humanitarian crisis. We now ask you to use the full weight of U.S.
influence and all tools at your disposal to end the blockade so that food, fuel and medicine, and
other essential goods can reach millions of people in desperate need.

We respectfully ask that you give our requests your full and fair consideration, consistent with
applicable statutes and regulations. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.