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U.S. Seeking To Build Up Maritime Security on Red Sea

The State Department announced yesterday that U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking will be traveling to the Persian Gulf region “to continue intensive U.S. diplomacy and regional coordination to safeguard maritime security in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in the midst of Iranian and Houthi attacks on international shipping threatening almost two years of joint progress to end the war in Yemen.”

The announcement comes in the aftermath of the Dec. 3 attacks on three commercial ships in the Red Sea. Lenderking’s mission has two parts, the one related to maritime security, and the other “to support a resolution to the Yemen conflict as soon as possible and alleviate the suffering the conflict has caused.” Lenderking will also “emphasize the need to contain the Israel-Hamas conflict while pursuing the United States’ priority of Yemeni-Yemeni political dialogue to end the war and set Yemen on a firm course for peace and stability.”

The State Department announcement came after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan indicated yesterday that the U.S. may establish a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea. “We are in talks with other countries about a maritime task force of sorts involving the ships from partner nations alongside the United States in ensuring safe passage,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House, writes The Associated Press. He noted that similar task forces are used to protect commercial shipping elsewhere, including off the coast of Somalia.