The spokesman for Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has dismissed the US proposal for a nationwide ceasefire in the war-torn country, saying the plan would plunge Yemen further into turmoil.
“The US plan doesn't include breaking the siege or ceasing fire. It is actually a detour which would lead to a resumption of a (Saudi) blockade diplomatically,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in an interview with Yemen's al-Masirah television Friday evening.
“One of the conditions presented in the initiative is to determine the destinations of flights departing Sana’a airport, and for the coalition of aggression to issue flight permits. This means they are not licensed here in Sana’a,” he said.
“If they were serious to stop the aggression and siege, they would have declared a complete end to hostilities and blockade. We would then welcome the measure. Aggression and siege against Yemen have not stopped even for a single day over the past six years, so what is the US concept of ceasing fire or breaking the siege?” Abdul-Salam added.
The Ansarullah spokesman said the US presentation of Saudi conditions as a so-called peace plan once again proved that Washington explicitly supports the Saudi war and blockade against Yemen.
He further noted that what the US special envoy on Yemen, Tim Lenderking, presented was a plot to plunge the Arab state further into turmoil.
“It is unacceptable for an American envoy to present a plan which is inferior to that of the United Nations special envoy for Yemen (Martin Griffiths),” Abdul-Salam said.
He said there is no real change towards ending the Saudi war and lifting the siege, stressing that such matters lie in the hands of the other side.
“They want us to respond through dialogue to what they have not achieved by means of war and siege. Everyone must realize such a fact,” the senior Ansarullah official added.
Abdul-Salam also rejected as “a big lie” the US envoy’s allegations that humanitarian aid deliveries have not been distributed among the needy Yemenis, stating that the coalition of aggression illegally impounds Yemen-bound oil vessels irrespective of the fact they all have acquired international permits beforehand.
“We have accepted all conditions proposed by other parties to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Having found no excuse to continue the blockade, they are alleging aid deliveries have not reached those in need,” the Ansarullah spokesman said.
Houthi: Trust in US comes from actions, not words
A member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council said Ansarullah is ready to return to the negotiating table with a serious goal of ending the conflict, but it must first see concrete steps from the administration of US President Joe Biden.
“Trust is built by actions, not words,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi told CNN on Friday.
“Trust must be achieved through decision-making. So far, we have not seen any concrete decisions being made,” he added.
He noted that President Biden was a member of former US president Barack Obama’s administration, which declared at the time that Washington was joining the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen.
“They also gave the green light to the coalition to continue massacre in our country and agreed to it,” Houthi added.
'Washington must drop Saudi conditions'
Abdul-Malik al-Ajri, a member of Ansarullah’s political bureau, said on Friday that his movement views the US ceasefire proposal in favor of Saudi Arabia, and would not accept it.
“The US special envoy on Yemen [Tim] Lenderking has presented proposals to end the war and has called on Ansarullah to respond,” Ajri wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.
“The truth is what he has offered is the same as Saudi Arabia's conditions for a ceasefire. Linderking should know in case such suggestions were acceptable, we would have directly received them from Saudi Arabia. There was then no need for the US envoy to repeat Saudis’ narrative.”
Lenderking: Ansarullah's ability is undeniable fact
The top US diplomat for Yemen on Friday touched on the role of Ansarullah and said its ability is a straightforward fact.
Lenderking said during a webinar with the Atlantic Council think tank that the movement is a “significant player” in Yemen and it needs to be acknowledged.
“I don’t think you can operate by denying that reality,” he said, claiming that the US “never said the Houthis have no role in Yemen.”
Lenderking, who recently returned from a three-week trip to the region, added that Washington is looking for the Ansarullah’s response to its peace plan.
“I will return immediately when the Houthis are prepared to talk,” Lenderking noted.