Yemen’s Supreme Political Council has announced a voluntary and unilateral three-day pause in retaliatory strikes against targets in Saudi Arabia.
Making the announcement, Mahdi al-Mashat, head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, said on Saturday that in line with the decision, Yemeni forces will stop all missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia for the stated period.
“The ceasefire will be observed across all ground, aerial, and naval fronts for three days,” the official said, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported on Saturday.
Yemen is prepared to “make the ceasefire permanent” if Saudi Arabia stops its attacks against Yemen and lifts the blockade of the country, takes all of foreign forces out of Yemeni soil and waters, and stops supporting local militants, Mashat noted.
A Saudi-led coalition has been waging an devastating war against Yemen since March 2015 with the aim of reinstating the country’s former Riyadh-allied officials.
The war has stopped short of its goals while killing thousands of Yemenis in the process and turning the entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mashat said Yemen is ready to release all of the Saudi-led coalition’s prisoners of war, including the brother of former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, “in exchange for the freedom of all of our prisoners.”
He urged the United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg to contribute to the prisoner exchange by laying the groundwork and preparing the agreements that the process entails.
“We seek peace and demand our enemies consider it a sacred issue,” Mashat said, adding, "We expect the coalition of aggressors to end all measures that would block the path to peace."
The Yemeni official noted that imposing a blockade on the country and seizing fuel-carrying ships in addition to depriving the Yemeni nation of its most primary rights are all measures, which are at odds with peace and confidence building.
“We consider the blockade [of Yemen by Saudi-led coalition] as the main factor that has prolonged the war and blocked the path to peace and consider the coalition and the international community responsible for it,” he noted.
Back in 2019, the two sides entered an agreement in Stockholm, Sweden to observe a ceasefire over the coastal province of al-Hudaydah, which receives the bulk of Yemen’s imports.
The coalition, however, never stopped bombarding the province, and keeps confiscating the vessels that arrive there carrying direly-needed fuel supplies.
Ansarullah: Saudi Arabia must positively react to Yemen’s announcement
Following Mashat’s declaration, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, Mohammed Abdulsalam, took to Twitter, exhorting the Saudi Arabia to show a positive reaction to the announcement and prove that it is serious about peace.
“The Saudi regime must prove its seriousness towards peace by positively reacting to Yemen’s peace initiative as announced by President [of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council] al-Mashat,” he wrote in his tweet.
على النظام السعودي اثبات جديته نحو السلام بالتعاطي الايجابي مع مبادرة السلام اليمنيةالتي أعلنها الرئيس المشاط وذلك بالاستجابة لوقف اطلاق الناروفك الحصار واخراج القوات الاجنبيةمن بلادنا وعندهايحل السلام ويحين الحديث عن الحلول السياسية في اجواء هادئة بعيدا عن اي ضغط عسكري او انساني— محمد عبدالسلام (@abdusalamsalah) March 26, 2022
Abdulsalam added that to show its seriousness, Saudi Arabia should lifting the siege of Yemen and “expel all foreign forces from our country, and then peace will come.”