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Saudi proposes Yemen ceasefire, UAE and UN hail initiative
Riyadh also proposed reopening the international airport in Sanaa, the rebel-held capital
Saudi Arabia on Monday offered Yemen’s Houthi rebels a “comprehensive” UN-supervised ceasefire, as part of a series of new proposals aimed at ending a catastrophic six-year conflict.
The initiative includes “a comprehensive ceasefire across the country under the supervision of the United Nations,” a Saudi government statement said.
Riyadh also proposed reopening the international airport in Sanaa, the rebel-held capital, and restarting political negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, the statement added.
The kingdom’s plan also called for taxes and customs revenue from ships carrying oil to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah — a key conduit for desperately needed aid — in a joint account of the Yemeni central bank.
“We want the guns to fall completely silent,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan told journalists at a televised news conference in Riyadh.
“It is up to the Houthis now. We are ready to go today. We hope we can have a cease-fire immediately, but the onus is on the Houthis.”
Prince Faisal criticised the Houthis for making “only more and more demands.”
The Yemeni government welcomed the initiative, while the Huthis brushed it off as “nothing new.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the announcement, said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.
“There is no doubt that every effort must be made to end the conflict and the suffering of the Yemeni people, and the United Nations looks forward to continuing its work with the parties to achieve this goal,” Haq said.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has expressed the UAE’s support for the initiative made by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday on forging a comprehensive peaceful solution in Yemen.
The UAE top diplomat hailed the initiative as an “invaluable” opportunity to ensure a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen and to pave the way for a permanent political solution in the country. He urged the international community to unify efforts and ensure the commitment of all parties concerned to the ceasefire plan.
Sheikh Abdullah commended the central role played by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to implement the Riyadh Agreement, form the new Yemeni government, reach a peaceful solution, and expedite the efforts aimed at putting an end to the Yemen crisis.
He underlined the necessity of responding positively to the initiative and the importance of all Yemeni forces collaborating to prioritise the nation’s supreme national interests.