U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking Returns from Travel to Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Jordan

Office of the Spokesperson

U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking returned on May 6 from travel to Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Jordan. In Saudi Arabia, he held meetings with senior government officials, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, to stress the need to ease all restrictions at Hudaydah Port and Sana’a Airport, reach a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire, and move to inclusive political talks. Separately, U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met twice with the P5 Ambassadors to Yemen, at the beginning and the end of the trip. The permanent members of the UN Security Council expressed determination to see the conflict resolved. They agreed that enabling the free flow of goods and commodities into and through Yemen, achieving a nationwide ceasefire, and swiftly transitioning to political talks is the only way to bring lasting relief to the Yemeni people and provide the basis for a stable, unified Yemen in the future.

In Muscat, U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking met with Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi in a joint meeting with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. They all agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire and committed to work with the parties to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The Omani Foreign Minister and the U.S. Special Envoy expressed their mutual desire to see the Safer oil tanker crisis resolved in order to prevent an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe in the Red Sea.

The U.S. Special Envoy then travelled to Amman, Jordan to join a senior U.S. government interagency delegation. The delegation met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and other Jordanian government officials to discuss regional issues, including the growing regional consensus on the need to end the Yemen conflict. U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking and U.S. Senator Murphy also held a separate meeting with UN Special Envoy Griffiths and the EU, German, and UK Ambassadors to Yemen to discuss the urgency of an immediate halt to the Houthi offensive in Marib and the transition to a political process.

Continuing these productive engagements, U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking returned to Riyadh for another round of meetings with senior government officials from Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen. The U.S. Special Envoy appreciates the continued and close cooperation with the Yemeni government.

There is a fair deal on the table that will bring immediate relief to Yemeni people. The Houthis passed up a major opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to peace and to make progress on this proposal by refusing to meet with UN Special Envoy Griffiths in Muscat—especially given the Republic of Yemen Government’s stated readiness to reach an agreement to end the conflict. Contradictory to their pronouncements regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Houthis worsen it by continuing to attack Marib and exacerbating dire conditions for already vulnerable, internally displaced Yemenis.

With the growing international consensus and momentum toward ending the conflict in Yemen without further delay, all parties must engage with the UN Special Envoy and address the proposal that is on the table, for the sake of the Yemeni people.

For any questions, please contact Vanessa Vidal at NEA-Press@state.gov and follow us on Twitter @StateDept_NEA .

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Such non-involvement of officials with duties that should be heavily focused on successful acquisition and operation of IT projects could be hindering states' ability to effectively implement systems. To improve oversight, CMS has begun a new outcome-based initiative that focuses the agency's review of state funding requests on the successful achievement of business outcomes. However, as of February 2020, CMS had not yet established a timeline for including MMIS and E&E systems in the new outcome-based process. CMS had various initiatives aimed at reducing duplication of Medicaid systems (see table). Description and Status of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Initiatives Aimed at Reducing Duplication by Sharing, Leveraging, and Reusing Medicaid Information Technology Initiative Description Implementation status Number of surveyed states reporting use of the initiative Reuse Repository Used by states to collect and share reusable artifacts. Made available in August 2017. As of January 2020, CMS was no longer supporting this initiative. 25 of the 50 reporting states Poplin Project Was to provide free, open-source application program interfaces for states to use in developing their modular Medicaid systems. Initiative never fully implemented. As of January 2020, CMS was no longer supporting this initiative. Three of the 50 reporting states Open Source Provider Screening Module Open-source module for states to use at no charge. Made available in August 2018. As of January 2020, CMS was no longer supporting this initiative. One of the 50 states reported attempting to use the module. Medicaid Enterprise Cohort Meetings A forum where states can discuss sharing, leveraging, and/or reuse of Medicaid technologies. As of January 2020, Cohort meetings were being held on a monthly basis. 47 of the 50 states reported participating in the meetings. Source: GAO analysis of agency data. | GAO-20-179 However, as of January 2020, the agency was no longer supporting most of these initiatives because they failed to produce the desired results. CMS regulations and GAO's prior work have highlighted the importance of reducing duplication by sharing and reusing Medicaid IT. To illustrate the potential for reducing duplication, 53 percent of state Medicaid officials responding to our survey reported using the same contractor to develop their MMIS. Nevertheless, selected states are taking the initiative to share systems or modules. Further support by CMS could result in additional sharing initiatives and potential cost savings. The Medicaid program is the largest source of health care funding for America's most at-risk populations and is funded jointly by states and the federal government. GAO was asked to assess CMS's oversight of federal expenditures for MMIS and E&E systems used for Medicaid. This report examines (1) the amount of federal funds that CMS has provided to state Medicaid programs to support MMIS and E&E systems, (2) the extent to which CMS reviews and approves states' funding requests for the systems and oversees the use of these funds, and (3) CMS's and states' efforts to reduce potential duplication of Medicaid IT systems. GAO assessed information related to MMIS and E&E systems, such as state expenditure data, federal regulations, and CMS guidance to the states for submitting funding requests, states' system funding requests, and IT project management documents. GAO also evaluated a generalizable sample of approved state funding requests from fiscal years 2016 through 2018 to analyze, among other things, CMS's review and approval process and conducted interviews with agency and state Medicaid officials. GAO also reviewed relevant regulations and guidance on promoting, sharing, and reusing MMIS and E&E technologies; and surveyed 50 states and six territories (hereafter referred to as states) regarding the MMIS and E&E systems, and assessed the complete or partial responses received from 50 states. GAO is making nine recommendations to improve CMS's processes for approving and overseeing the federal funds for MMIS and E&E systems and for bolstering efforts to reduce potential duplication. Among these recommendations are that CMS should develop formal, documented procedures that include specific steps to be taken in the advanced planning document review process and instructions on how CMS will document the reviews; develop, in consultation with the HHS and CMS CIOs, a documented, comprehensive, and risk-based process for how CMS will select IT projects for technical assistance and provide recommendations to assist states that is aimed at improving the performance of the systems; encourage state Medicaid program officials to consider involving state CIOs in overseeing Medicaid IT projects; establish a timeline for implementing the outcome-based certification process for MMIS and E&E systems; and identify, prior to approving funding for systems, similar projects that other states are pursuing so that opportunities to share, leverage, or reuse systems or system modules are considered. In written comments on a draft of this report, the department concurred with eight of the nine recommendations, and described steps it had taken and/or planned to take to address them. The department did not state whether it concurred with GAO's recommendation to encourage state officials to consider involving state CIOs in Medicaid IT projects. HHS stated that it was unable to discern evidence as to whether a certain structure contributed to a specific outcome. GAO believes, consistent with federal law, that CIOs are critically important to the success of IT projects. For more information, contact Vijay D’Souza at (202) 512-6240 or dsouzav@gao.gov.
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