Yemen has been living under war between the Saudi coalition and Houthi rebels since 2015.
Qatar has welcomed the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to stop military operations in Yemen starting from Wednesday throughout the fasting month of Ramadan.
The decision was announced ahead of Yemeni-Yemeni talks in Saudi Arabia, to which the Iran-backed Houthi rebels were invited. The group declined the invitation, saying that they refuse to attend negotiations in a rival country.
The talks were proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council and are expected to take place next month during the holy month.
GCC ‘considering’ talks with Yemen’s Houthi rebels in Riyadh
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that the consultations would create “a positive environment during the blessed month of Ramadan to achieve peace, security and stability” in Yemen.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar’s position calling for a solution to the Yemeni crisis based on the Gulf initiative and relevant Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution No. 2,216,” added MOFA.
The Gulf state has repeatedly urged all sides in Yemen to hold an inclusive national dialogue in order to address the worsening situation in Yemen.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched military attacks in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The coalition has been backing the internationally-recognised AbdRabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government.
Hadi’s, who is now exiled in Riyadh, government was forced out of the capital Sanaa in late 2014.
The latest ceasefire was proposed by the UN earlier this week after Houthi rebels also announced on Saturday the suspension of missile and done strikes on Saudi Arabia for three days.
“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will abide by this cessation, and undertake all necessary steps and procedures to ensure its success, and create the propitious conditions needed for successful consultations and favorable environment for the Holy Month of Ramadan to make peace, and end the conflict,” said coalition spokesperson Brigadier General Turki Al-Malki.
UN Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said that he has been engaging with all sides involved in the conflict to reach a ceasefire.
“For over two months, I have been engaging with the parties to reach a truce by the beginning of Ramadan & we are making progress. The truce proposal includes easing of fuel crisis & facilitation of the freedom of movement,” he said.
The GCC’s Secretary General Nayef Al-Hajraf told a conference sponsored by the bloc on Wednesday that the upcoming consultations would address the humanitarian and political aspects of the situation in Yemen.
According to AFP, the Houthis said on Sunday that an agreement over the release of 1,400 of their fighters was reached in exchange for 823 pro-government personnel. The prisoners also include Hadi’s brother, Abdul Qader Al-Murtada.
The Houthis’ attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE have increased since the beginning of the year, targeting civilian sites in both Gulf states. The assaults triggered a flare up in Yemen in January.
According to Save the Children, January was the deadliest month in Yemen since 2018, where one civilian was killed or injured every hour.
The US has also been accused by rights groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), that it further escalated the war in Yemen through its additional sale of fighter jets to the UAE.
The war has turned Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, where more than 14 million people in Yemen, 80% of the population, are in acute need of humanitarian assistance. The war has also displaced more than three million people.
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