A high-ranking Yemeni official says the American proposal for a nationwide ceasefire in the conflict-plagued Arab country offers nothing new, and only serves the interests of the US administration.
“The American proposal on Yemen doesn't present anything new. It rather repeated the mistake of previous US administrations towards Sana’a (Yemen’s National Salvation Government),” Deputy Prime Minister for Security Affairs Major General Jalal al-Rowaishan said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language al-Masirah television network on Sunday.
He added, “The United States and Europe must first work out a solution to the main issue, that is to stop the Saudi-led aggression and lift the siege of Yemeni people, and then think of negotiations.”
Rowaishan further noted that the so-called US plan for a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen has nothing new in it, and “only guarantees Washington’s interests," adding "Americans have no respect whatsoever for the interests of others and human rights.”
“We welcome any clear proposal and peace plan anchored in the removal of the siege and cessation of hostilities,” the senior Yemeni official pointed out.
US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking on Friday said during a webinar with the Atlantic Council think tank that Houthis are a “significant player” in Yemen that needed to be acknowledged.
“I don’t think you can operate by denying that reality,” he said, claiming the US “never said the Houthis have no role in Yemen.”
Lenderking, who recently returned from a three-week trip to the region, said Washington is looking for the Ansarullah’s response to its peace plan, but claimed that Ansarullah does not appear interested in a ceasefire at this moment, and is supposedly prioritizing a military campaign to take the strategic central province of Ma’rib.
“I will return immediately when the Houthis are prepared to talk,” Lenderking noted.
Commenting on the ongoing fighting in the strategic central province of Ma’rib, Rowaishan said, “This combat is part of the great battle of Yemen, and is not separate from it. Clashes in Ma’rib province, especially in Sirwah and Hilan districts, have been going on since the beginning of the Saudi-led aggression.”
“The controversy in the Western media about Ma’rib is only in line with the aggressors' desire to prevent Yemenis from reaching a point where they can work out a political solution,” he highlighted.
Over the past few weeks, Ma’rib has been the scene of large-scale operations by Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters, who are pushing against Saudi-sponsored militants loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Houthi: We are waiting for US to withdraw its elements from Yemen
Meanwhile, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, has reacted to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's comments on supporting a Yemen free from foreign influence, describing them as “positive” but stressed they need to be backed by action.
“Blinken's comments on Yemen being free from foreign influence were positive," Houthi wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.
“We are waiting for [US] action to withdraw American elements and experts from the battle, and to neutralize American weapons and withdraw them from the confrontation.
“This is what we're looking for and what would be consistent with the comments,” he added.
On Sunday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken told UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths during a call that the “United States supports a unified, stable Yemen free from foreign influence, and that there is no military solution to the conflict.”
Backed by the US and a number of other Western states, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.
The Yemeni armed forces and allied popular groups have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.