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Yemen Houthis say open to peace talks with Saudis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Saleh al-Sammad, head of Houthis' political wing (File photo)

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says they are open to holding peace talks with Riyadh in a bid to bring an end to the Saudi aggression.

"We will not turn our backs on any understandings or initiatives that could lead to the halt of aggression and lifting the suffering from the Yemeni people," said Saleh al-Sammad, head of Houthis' political wing, in a statement on Monday.

He also referred to a recent prisoner exchange with Saudi Arabia, saying it was part of an “initial and preliminary” stage of negotiations that could be followed by “gradual steps” if the Saudi authorities are willing to halt their aggression.

Last week, Ansarullah movement freed a Saudi soldier in exchange for seven detained Yemenis. The swap was launched by Yemeni tribal figures to curb the violence in the border area and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Yemenis.

Yemenis inspect the damage following an airstrike by Saudi Arabia in the capital Sana'a, on February 27, 2016. ©AFP

Reports also said that representatives of the movement traveled to Riyadh last week to discuss a truce along the frontier. The visit reportedly began on March 7 at the invitation of Saudi authorities, following a week of secret preparatory talks

Saudi Arabia has been bombing its southern neighbor for about a year now in a bid to weaken the Houthis and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Yemenis have been carrying out retaliatory attacks on the Saudi forces deployed in the country as well as targets inside Saudi Arabia.

Over 8,400 people, among them more than 2,200 children, have been killed and over 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories. The conflict also pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

Tens of Saudi soldiers and mercenaries have also been killed in the war.


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