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Thursday, 28 January 2021

Yemen's Houthis deny reports on talks over alleged "border buffer zone" with Saudi Arabia

The comment came hours after reports that Saudi Arabia told Houthis that it would sign a cease-fire deal and lift all blockade on territories under Houthi control if they agree on a buffer zone along the kingdom's border.

Xinhua , Wednesday 18 Nov 2020
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi
File Photo: Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the higher revolutionary committee of the Houthi militias (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthi militia denied reports about talks with Saudi Arabia over a buffer zone along the kingdom's border in return for cease-fire and lifting of air and sea blockade.

"Those reports ... about a border buffer zone between Yemen and Saudi Arabia ... were baseless," Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the group's higher revolutionary committee, tweeted late on Tuesday.

The comment came hours after reports that Saudi Arabia told Houthis through "a high-level back-channel" that it would sign a cease-fire deal and lift air and sea blockade on territories under Houthi control if they agree on a buffer zone along the kingdom's border.

Saudi Arabia has made no comment yet over the alleged proposal.

Indirect talks between Saudi Arabia and Houthis have been reportedly held since last year in the neighboring Gulf state Oman.

Saudi Arabia has said that it seeks a way out of the Yemeni conflict.

Houthis in many occasions pledged to stop cross-border drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led coalition stops airstrikes and lifts economic blockade.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized several northern provinces and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi's government.

The war of more than five years has killed tens of thousands of peoples, displaced nearly 4 million and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. 

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