RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday offered Yemen’s Huthi rebels a “comprehensive” UN-supervised ceasefire, as part of a series of new proposals aimed at ending a catastrophic six-year conflict.
But the Huthis swiftly dismissed the initiative, which comes as the Iran-backed rebels escalate attacks on the kingdom and push to seize the Saudi-backed Yemeni government’s last northern stronghold in the war-torn nation.
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 Huthis, the statement added.
The kingdom’s plan also called for taxes and customs revenue from ships carrying oil to the Red Sea port of Hodeida — 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 said.
“The initiative will take effect as soon as the Huthis agree to it.”
The Yemeni government welcomed the initiative, while the Huthis brushed it off as “nothing new” as they reiterated their demand that a Saudi-led air and sea blockade on Yemen be completely lifted.