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Top negotiator for Yemen's Ansarullah movement: No point in meeting new UN envoy as Saudi siege remains

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)
Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement (file photo)

A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has ruled out a meeting with the United Nations' new special envoy for Yemen unless the tight land, air and sea blockade by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies on the impoverished Arab country is fully lifted.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, who is also the chief negotiator of Ansarullah movement, said in a tweet on Sunday that it would be futile to hold talks with the United Nations' new special envoy for Yemen without taking into account the group's key conditions under stalled peace efforts. He said the Saudi siege removal on Yemen is the prerequisite of any future peace negotiation.

"There is no use in having any dialogue before airports and ports are opened as a humanitarian necessity and priority," Abdulsalam said in response to Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg's appointment.

Abdulsalam also told some media outlets that a meeting would be pointless as Grundberg "has nothing in his hands" and that there was no progress following last month's visit to Riyadh by the US envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking.

The appointment of Grundberg on Friday as the new UN envoy came as the world body struggles to secure a breakthrough to end more than six years of Saudi aggression against Yemen.

A UN-led initiative for a ceasefire and the lifting of sea and air restrictions have stalled, with Riyadh regime constantly refusing to end the blockade.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, Chairman of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, earlier denounced the Saudis and their allies over their blackmail-style tactics against his country.

“It would not be a sensible thing to besiege oneself, and unreasonably oppose the entry of basic commodities while no viable alternative is at hand. Yemen has been depending 99% on [commercial food] imports since the 1970s, causing its own suffering.” the high-ranking official said on Thursday.

The developments come as Ma’rib, which is wedged right in the middle of a whole host of other Yemeni provinces, has turned into a focus of the forces’ liberation operations for many months now.

The province’s recapture, towards which many advancements have been made so far, is expected to pave the way for further military victories for Yemen’s defenders.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday said Saudi Arabia and its allies had been funneling Ma’rib’s oil and gas revenues to their mercenaries in order to help finance the war, describing victory in the battle for the strategic province as a prelude to peace for the entire Yemen.

Major General Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi, defense minister of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has also said Saudi Arabia and its allies can no longer determine the course of action since it is now the Yemeni army troops and fighters from allied Popular Committees that have the upper hand and are in a dominant position.

Saudi Arabia and many of its allies have been waging a war on Yemen since 2015 to restore power there to the country’s Riyadh-friendly former officials.

The war and a simultaneous siege that the Saudi-led coalition has been enforcing on the Arab world’s already poorest nation, has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis.

The invasion has pushed the entire Yemen close to the brink of outright famine, turning the country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen’s defense forces have, however, vowed not to lay down their arms or stop their resistance operations until the country’s complete liberation.

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