The spokesman for Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, says the US-proposed plan for a nationwide ceasefire in the conflict-stricken Arab country does not offer anything new, stressing that the policies of the administration of new US President Joe Bidemn are not much different from those of his predecessor Donald Trump.
“Biden’s administration is following the same policies as those of former [US] president Donald Trump. The United States has not offered a new plan for peace in Yemen. Washington has rather presented, through Oman, an old plan for the resolution of the [Yemeni] conflict,” Abdul-Salam said in interview with Qatar-based and Arabic-language Al Jazeera television news network on Wednesday evening.
He noted that the US ceasefire plan is nothing new as a similar proposal had already been presented by the United Nations.
“Through the Omani mediator, we have offered our vision plan for a solution [to the Yemeni crisis]. We are waiting for the US response.
“Yemen’s National Salvation Government is ready to engage in negotiations only if the humanitarian issue is separated from military and political matters. They (Americans) have set out conditions for the opening of Hudaydah port and Sanaa's International Airport in the proposed plan, which are unacceptable,” Abdul-Salam pointed out.
On March 12, US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said during a webinar with the Atlantic Council think tank that Houthis are a “significant player” in Yemen and that needs to be acknowledged.
“I don’t think you can operate by denying that reality,” Lenderking said, adding that the US “never said the Houthis have no role in Yemen.”
The US special envoy for Yemen, 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 said.
Abdul-Salam went on to say on Wednesday evening that the battles in Ma’rib have been raging on since the start of the Saudi-led war, and that the region serves as the main bastion of occupation forces.
The Ansarullah spokesman underscored that the Saudi-led coalition waging a war against Yemen has rejected his movement’s peace proposal for Ma’rib.
“We are in the position of defense. When our fellow fighters tightened the noose on Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries, the international community started voicing concerns. We have not heard their concerns about the sufferings of Yemeni people,” he said.
Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s intention to purchase armed Turkish drones, Abdul-Salam said, “Saudi Arabia buys weapons from countries around the world, but has been unable to make any progress [on the battleground]. Turkish-made, Chinese-made, American-built and other drones are being shot down by Yemeni air defense units.”
Abdul-Salam stressed that Yemeni armed forces and their allied fighters from Popular Committees will continue to launch retaliatory missile and drone attacks as long as the Saudi-led aggression and siege continues.
He went on to say that the Saudi-led alliance is currently impounding 14 oil tankers bound for Hudaydah port, emphasizing that the fuel crisis in Sana’a is because of the continued Saudi-imposed blockade.
“No vessel has entered the port of Hudaydah over the past few days. We are ready to take journalists to the port and prove it,” Abdul-Salam said.
‘Saudi Arabia sending UAE-backed Yemeni separatists to Mahra’
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is reportedly relocating militants affiliated with Yemen's so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) from the southwestern province of Dhale to the eastern province of al-Mahra to defend the Riyadh regime’s interests in the area.
Abboud Haboud Qumsit, the deputy head of the popular sit-in committee in Mahra, said STC has established a military brigade and stared recruitment at Major General Abboud camp in Dhale province in order to train and equip the draftees and later send them to battle fronts in Mahra.
Qumsit added that recruitment of UAE-backed STC militants started at the end of last month, noting that Saudi forces directly supervise the training of the forces, pay them salaries, and provide them with weapons and various forms of support.
“The freedom-loving residents of Mahra will fight off all militants, who serve the interests of occupation forces. They will not allow any militant to infiltrate into their lands, and will make noble sacrifices in order to preserve stability and security in Mahra,” he said.
Yemeni forces, allies thwart Saudi-led forces’ assault on Hudaydah
Elsewhere in the strategic western province of Husaydah, Yemeni army troops and Popular Committees fighters have repelled an attack by Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries on the town of al-Shabab.
Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported that scores of Saudi-led soldiers and their allied militants were killed and wounded in the process.
Delegates from Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi held a round of peace negotiations in Rimbo, north of the Swedish capital city of Stockholm, in December 2018.
The talks resulted in the announcement of an agreement, which included a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port. The deal also mandated the UN to oversee the truce.