WASHINGTON - After a recent swing through Oman, Jordan and Qatar, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said he sees the "grassroots of de-escalation" emerging in the civil war in Yemen, a deadly crisis for which the Connecticut Democrat has long advocated for a peaceful solution.
On a call with reporters after his return, Murphy, who leads the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East, also said he had "great concern" about the recent escalation of violence in Israel and he urged President Joe Biden to secure a return of the Iran nuclear deal.
"I came back more confident than ever that it is imperative for the United States to get back into the Iran deal," Murphy.
"There is no doubt that a restart of the deal is good for the United States and good for the region. Interesting to note that the very vocal opposition to the Iran deal that was present from Gulf nations under the Obama administration has largely disappeared."
President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal in 2018, calling it a "horrible one-sided deal" and reimposing sanctions on the country.
Negotiators for the Biden administration and Iran have recently been discussing terms for a possible new deal in Europe.
Murphy said during his trip and since returning, he has advised the Biden administration that it must get the Iranians back into compliance with the deal.
Murphy departed for the Middle East on April 29 for a multi-day trip of meetings with foreign leaders and Biden administration officials, mostly focused on ending the war and delivering humanitarian relief in Yemen.
Since 2015, an intractable civil war has consumed Yemen with fighting between Iran-backed Houthis, who overthrew the Yemeni government, and a multi-state coalition lead by Saudi Arabian forces and supported by the U.S.
The war has produced the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people suffering from malnutrition, a situation that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, Biden announced the U.S. would end American support for offensive operations in Yemen, including arms sales. The U.S. will continue anti-terrorism activities in the area.
While in the region, Murphy met with the foreign ministers in Oman and Qatar to discuss the role those countries can plan in addressing the situation in Yemen.
"We have a ceasefire agreement on the table in Yemen," Murphy said. "This to me seems like the time for a ceasefire and political negotiations... the United States is willing to be active and present in those negotiations... we are hopeful that the Omanis will deliver that message to the Houthis."
Then, he traveled to Jordan for a sit down with King Abdullah II of Jordan along with officials from the U.S. Department of State, Defense and National Security Council. Murphy later dined with Abdullah and the queen.
While in Jordan, Murphy also met with the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen and Biden's Yemen Special Envoy. Murphy has urged the Biden administration to fully fund the UN appeal for humanitarian funds for Yemen.
He visited a United Nations Relief and Works Agency training center that supports Palestinian refugees. Murphy also had lunch with Connecticut National Guard troops stationed in Jordan.