Yemen rebels propose truce, peace talks: Saudi official

AFP , Saturday 26 Mar 2022

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 on Saturday.

Houthi attack
Fire fighters extinguish the last hearths of fire at a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia s Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, on March 26, 2022, a day after a Yemeni rebels attack. AFP

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 -- the capital of Saudi Arabia, which leads the pro-government military coalition.

"The Huthis put forward an initiative through mediators that includes a truce, opening the airport (Sanaa) and the port (Hodeida) and Yemeni-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 Huthis, 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".

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