UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said both the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment to work on a political solution and have given firm assurances that they will attend the talks.”
SANA’A, YEMEN — Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) submitted an initiative Monday they hope will help bring peace to Yemen. The group has also unilaterally suspended ballistic missile and drone attacks against Saudi-led coalition forces as a goodwill measure to “speed up” the peace process.
Mohammed Ali al Houthi — head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), the political wing of Ansar Allah — said in official statement on Monday that the group was taking the initiative in response to a request by the United Nations special envoy for the country, Martin Griffiths, adding “we ready for a broader ceasefire if the Saudi-led coalition wants peace.”
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. …This initiative is in order to deprive them of any reason for continuing their aggression and siege, along with a readiness to freeze and stop all military operations on all fronts in order to reach peace.”
Griffiths said both the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment to work on a political solution and have given firm assurances that they will attend the talks.” No date has yet been set.
Moreover, the Saudi-led coalition has approved a request by the Houthis to evacuate their wounded, including fighters, out of Yemen for treatment. This was one of the key stumbling blocks to UN-brokered talked originally scheduled to be held in Geneva in September, and is seen as a victory for Sana’a.
The two sides held several rounds of UN-sponsored talks in Switzerland after the war began but were unable to reach an agreement beyond prisoner-exchange deals.
In the same context, a UN draft resolution on Yemen presented to the Security Council on Monday called for an immediate truce in the port city of Hodeida. The draft was circulated by the U.K. to the 14 other council members after hearing a report on Friday from a UN envoy.
The draft text calls on the parties to “introduce a cessation of hostilities in Hodeida governorate, to end all attacks on densely populated civilian areas across Yemen, and to cease all missile and UAV attacks against regional countries and maritime areas.”
It also calls on the warring sides:
to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian food, water, fuel, medicine and other essential imports across the country, including by removing within two weeks of the adoption of this resolution, any bureaucratic impediments that could restrict such flows.”
The truce would go into effect on the day of the adoption of the resolution. Under the proposed measures, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would report to the council within two weeks on the cessation of hostilities. The council, in its draft, said it was ready to consider further measures to support a political solution the war.
The Saudi-led offensive on Hodeida sparked an international outcry over the fate of civilians trapped in the densely populated city as well as its port, which Yemenis across the impoverished country rely on for what little imports and aid reach them.
Up to 80 percent of Yemen’s food comes through Hodeida, and humanitarian groups have repeatedly warned that the offensive led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could spark an even worse humanitarian crisis. Half of Yemen’s 28 million people are already at risk of famine, with three-quarters in need of humanitarian aid in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Top Photo | Houthi fighters stand guard during a rally to mark the third anniversary of the Houthis’ takeover of the Yemeni capital, in Sanaa, Yemen, Sept. 21, 2017. Hani Mohammed | AP
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.