Saudi proposes ceasefire in Yemen, Houthis sceptical
March 22 2021 10:55 PM
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan speaks during a press conference in Riyadh yesterday, annou
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan speaks during a press conference in Riyadh on Monday, announcing an offer of a ceasefire with Yemen's Huthi rebels.

* UN welcomes proposal
*War has caused world's largest humanitarian crisis
 
 
Saudi Arabia presented a new peace initiative on Monday to end the war in Yemen, including a nationwide ceasefire and the reopening of air and sea links, but the Houthi rebels said the offer did not appear to go far enough to lift a blockade.
The initiative, announced by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al- Saud, would include reopening Sanaa airport, and allow fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port, both of which are controlled by the Iran-aligned Houthis.
Political negotiations between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis would be restarted, he told a news conference, it would take effect when the Yemeni sides accepted.
Yemen's internationally recognised government issued a statement welcoming the offer.
But the Houthis said the initiative provided "nothing new", as it still fell short of their demand for a complete lifting of the blockade on Sanaa airport and Hodeidah port.
"We expected that Saudi Arabia would announce an end to the blockade of ports and airports and an initiative to allow in 14 ships that are held by the coalition," Houthi chief negotiator Mohamed Abdulsalam told Reuters.
A "humanitarian right" should not be used as a pressure tool, he said.
The group would continue to talk with the Saudis, the United States and mediator Oman for a peace agreement, he said.
The war has killed more than 100,000 people, many of them civiilians, according to The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a database that tracks violence in Yemen.
The conflict has been stalemated for years and has left 80% of Yemen's population reliant on aid.
The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition battling the movement, has been under increasing pressure to put an end to the six-year-old conflict since US
President Joe Biden signalled Washington would no longer support the intervention and as the United Nations warns of a looming famine in Yemen.
The United Nations welcomes the Saudi "intention to undertake a number of measures to help end the conflict in Yemen", UN spokesman Farhan Haq said , stressing that "it's still early days".
Haq said the proposal is aligned with the UN initiative and that special envoy Martin Griffiths would now follow up with the warring parties.
Prince Faisal said Riyadh would work with the international community to press the Houthis "to accept and come to the negotiating table" and that the Saudi-led coalition would continue to face Houthi assaults "with the necessary response".
The movement has stepped up drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, including on oil facilities, and a ground offensive to seize Yemen's gas-rich Marib region.
The coalition has responded with air strikes on Houthi military sites.
The Houthis demand the lifting of the blockade, which they blame for what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
The Saudi-led coalition and aid agencies have accused the group of obstructing aid efforts.
Riyadh's announcement did not specify which air routes would be permitted to Sanaa, or whether the imports through Hodeidah port would be subject to additional pre-authorisations.

Qatar welcomes efforts to end war
Following the Saudi Arabia initiative aimed at ending the Yemeni crisis and reaching a comprehensive political solution, Qatar has welcomed all efforts aimed at ending the war in Yemen and putting an end to the tragedy of the Yemeni people.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed Qatar's aspiration for the comprehensive political track and the national reconciliation to be the path that brings together all actors in the Yemeni scene and the international community as a whole in order to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Yemeni people for security, stability and prosperity.
The ministry reiterated Qatar's position calling for resolving the Yemeni crisis on the basis of the Gulf initiative and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution No. 2216. 

US welcomes Saudi offer
WASHINGTON: The United States welcomes the commitment of Saudi Arabia and the internationally recognised government of Yemen to a new ceasefire plan, the State Department said .
All parties to the Yemen conflict should "commit seriously" to an immediate ceasefire and engage in negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter told a news briefing.
 
 



There are no comments.

LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
MORE NEWS

HAPPENING IN DOHAMore