Yemen: Houthis propose truce with Saudi Arabia

21st Sep 2019
Yemen: Houthis propose truce with Saudi Arabia

By Murad al-Urayfi

 

(AA): Yemen’s Houthi rebel group announced Friday that they had halted attacks on Saudi Arabia and called on Riyadh to make a similar move.

“We announce the cessation of targeting the territory of Saudi Arabia with unmanned aerial vehicles and ballistic missiles, and we expect the same from Saudi Arabia,” Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, said in a televised speech on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his group’s control of the Yemeni capital Sana’a.

Al-Mashat stressed that his group reserves the right to respond if Saudi Arabia fails to respond to its initiative to stop attacks.

“The continuation of the war will benefit no one,” he said. “It may lead to serious developments that we do not want to happen.”

He warned that the Saudi-led coalition forces would incur “the greatest damage” from the continuation of the war.

Al-Mashat called on the Saudi-led coalition to lift the ban on Sana’a International Airport and stop intercepting ships bound for the Red Sea.

He also called on the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and all parties to engage in serious and genuine negotiations leading to comprehensive national reconciliation.

He said his group had fulfilled nearly 90% of its obligations under an agreement reached late last year in Sweden and accused the Yemeni government of not fulfilling its obligations.

In December, Yemeni government representatives and Houthi rebel leaders held a round of UN-brokered talks in Stockholm which yielded a ceasefire agreement in the Red Sea port city of Al-Hudaydah.

The warring parties, however, have yet to fully withdraw from Al-Hudaydah amid tit-for-tat accusations of truce violations and sporadic clashes in other parts of the country.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sana’a.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

 

The UN Human Rights Office has documented that between 26 March 2015 and June 2019, there have been a total of 20,000 civilian casualties in Yemen, including 7,290 dead. The majority of these casualties – 10,852 resulted from airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition.

 

In addition another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

[Archive Photo: Damaged building bombed by Saudi-led military coalition in Sana’a on 16 May 2019. Photographer: Mohammed Hamoud/AA]

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