Rebel leader calls for halt to military operations | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, November 20, 2018

Yemen Conflict

Rebel leader calls for halt to military operations

Yemen's internationally-recognised government yesterday said it will take part in proposed peace talks, hours after a high-ranking Yemeni rebel official urged his leadership to freeze military operations.

The moves come ahead of a visit in the next few days to the war-torn country by UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who is once again trying to get all sides around the negotiating table.

"The government has informed the UN envoy to Yemen... that it will send a government delegation to the talks with the aim of reaching a political solution," Yemen's foreign ministry said, quoted by the official Saba news agency.

Earlier Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, head of the Huthi rebels' Higher Revolutionary Committee and an influential political figure, tweeted that he wanted his group to announce "readiness to suspend and halt all military operations" and stop firing missiles on Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh, which is backing the Yemeni government, also lent its support to new talks.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels have controlled Yemen's capital Sanaa since capturing it in late 2014. They also still hold the key port of Hodeida on the Red Sea in what has become a brutal almost four-year war, which has pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of starvation.

The rebels have also fired hundreds of ballistic missiles into neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has since 2015 has led a military coalition to restore to power President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government.

Mohammed Ali al-Huthi called on "all (Huthi) official Yemeni sides to issue directives to end launching missiles and drones against aggression countries" which would "deprive them of any reason to continue their aggression and siege."

Griffiths is expected to visit the Yemeni capital of Sanaa this week to finalise arrangements for peace talks in Sweden. No date has yet been set for the negotiations.

Saudi King Salman yesterday told the Shura Council, his country's top advisory body, "our support for Yemen was not an option but a duty... to help the Yemeni people confront the Iran-backed militias".

He also threw his weight behind a "political solution" and a "comprehensive national dialogue" in Yemen.

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