Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has dismissed a so-called peace initiative by Riyadh to bring the protracted war to an end, saying there is “nothing new” in the offer.
The movement’s chief negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam on Monday said the opening of airports and seaports is a “humanitarian right” and must not be used as a “pressure tool” by the kingdom.
He, however, said Ansarullah would continue to hold talks with Riyadh, Muscat and Washington to end the Saudi-imposed war.
Riyadh has presented a ‘peace initiative’ which would include a nationwide ceasefire under the supervision of the UN and reopening of air and sea links.
The initiative includes reopening of Sana’a airport, and free passage for fuel and food imports through the Hudaydah port, both of which are controlled by Ansarullah.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said the initiative would take effect “as soon as the Houthis agree to it.”
Downplaying the offer, the movement has demanded lifting of air and sea blockade, which has contributed to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as a main pre-condition for any deal.
“Saudi Arabia must declare an end to the aggression and lift the blockade completely, but putting forward ideas that have been discussed for over a year is nothing new,” Abdulsalam said, according to Yemen’s Al-Masirah television.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have been in a bloody war on Yemen since 2015, using weapons supplied by the West, primarily to restore the regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a move fiercely resisted by Ansarullah.
In December last year, the United Nations put the death toll in the Saudi-imposed war at 233,000, terming it “unfortunate and unacceptable.”
A large number of hospitals and residential property have been destroyed in the Saudi bombardment, which has further aggravated the situation in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
While Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have been spearheading the war, the Western regimes have been complicit for providing weapons to them and failing to condemn their brutal aggression.
Although the new US administration announced the end of Washington’s support to the coalition, the principal US policy remains unchanged, according to Abdulsalam.
“It is deplorable for America to chant the slogan of human rights and express concern over the worsening humanitarian conditions in Yemen as a result of the [Saudi-led] aggression and siege, and then make that (humanitarian issues) subject to military and political bargaining,” he wrote on his Twitter page recently.
Last week, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, emphasized that there will be no peace in the Arab country unless the Saudi-led coalition halts attacks, lifts the crippling siege and ends the military occupation.
“We call on the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and their allies for holding a comprehensive ceasefire throughout the Republic of Yemen and remove the current blockade,” he tweeted.
He also urged the realease of “all the 14 detained ships within the next forty-eight hours” as the first step to remove the current blockade.