Saudis confirm truce, peace proposals from Houthis

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The Houthis seized Sanaa in 2014, ousting the government and sparking a devastating war. (AP pic)

AFP

RIYADH: Yemen’s Houthi rebels have proposed a ceasefire and peace talks to end the country’s crippling war in return for opening the capital’s airport and the key port of Hodeida, a senior Saudi official told AFP today.

The comments come a day after a wave of drone-and-missile attacks against Saudi targets including an oil facility in Jeddah, sparking a huge fire as Formula One practice sessions took place nearby.

The Iran-backed rebels last week rejected an offer of talks in Riyadh – capital of Saudi Arabia, which leads the pro-government military coalition.

“The Houthis put forward an initiative through mediators that includes a truce, opening the airport (Sanaa) and the port (Hodeida) and Saudi-Yemeni discussions,” said the official, on condition of anonymity.

“We are waiting for it to be officially announced because they (Houthis) are constantly changing their words,” he added.

No immediate comment was available from the Houthis, who seized Sanaa in 2014, ousting the government and sparking a devastating war.

The Saudi-led coalition launched its intervention exactly seven years ago.

A Riyadh-based diplomat told AFP that Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen, had led recent efforts to reach a truce during the month of Ramadan, which begins in early April.

Last week, the Saudi-headquartered, six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council invited the rebels to talks in Riyadh later this month.

But the Houthis refused to hold talks with the government in “enemy countries”.