News ID: 234510
Published: 0318 GMT November 19, 2018

Yemen’s Houthis halt attacks on Saudi coalition to speed up peace process

Yemen’s Houthis halt attacks on Saudi coalition to speed up peace process

Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday it was halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies, responding to a demand from the United Nations.

International pressure has mounted on Yemen’s warring parties to end the war that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the country to the verge of starvation, Reuters reported.

The move from the Houthi group came after the Saudi-led coalition ordered a halt in its offensive against Yemen’s main port city Hodeida, which has become the focus of the war.

“After our contacts with the UN envoy and his request to stop drone and missile strikes ... We announce our initiative ... to halt missile and drone strikes on the countries of aggression,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in a statement.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths is trying to salvage peace talks after a round in September collapsed. He hopes to convene talks before the end of the year in Sweden to agree on a framework for peace under a transitional government.

Yemen’s parties have given “firm assurances” they are committed to attending peace talks to be convened shortly, Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Friday, and pledged to escort the Houthi delegation from Sana’a if needed.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Monday reiterated the kingdom’s support for UN efforts to end the war. The Riyadh-backed government also announced its willingness to take part in the next round of consultations.

Houthi movement which has been battling the Saudi-led coalition for nearly four years added it was ready for a broader cease-fire if “the Saudi-led coalition wants peace.”

“(The decision) came to support the UN envoy, to show good faith and support the peace efforts,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE both have said they support UN-led peace talks.

The Houthis say their missile attacks on Saudi Arabia are in retaliation for air raids on Yemen by the Western-backed coalition, which entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to try to restore the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who had already resigned and fled to Saudi Arabia.

The coalition has carried out thousands of air strikes in the impoverished country that have hit schools, markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of people.

The Houthis last July unilaterally halted attacks in the Red Sea to support peace efforts, after Saudi Arabia suspended temporarily oil exports through a strategic Red Sea channel following attacks on crude tankers.

Key Western allies including the United States have been urgently calling for a cease-fire ahead of the renewed UN efforts.

Western countries have provided arms and intelligence to the Arab states in the alliance, but have shown increasing reservations about the conflict since the murder of US-based Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul early last month.


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