Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has announced a ceasefire in several border regions with Saudi Arabia in a bid to pave the way for upcoming political talks among Yemeni groups.
The movement’s spokesman, Mohammed Abdulsalam, said on Tuesday that as a “first step”, the truce would halt military operations in a number of Yemeni provinces, including the Midi border area in the northwestern Hajjah province.
He added that the truce would pave the way for peace talks between Ansarullah and fugitive former president Abd Rabbouh Mansour Hadi’s loyalists.
On Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that a Houthi delegation was in the Arab Kingdom to hold peace discussions, a claim that was strongly rejected by Ansarullah top official Mohammed al-Bukhaiti.
Last month, the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced that the former government and the Ansarullah movement had agreed to halt hostilities on April 10 ahead of a new round of peace talks to be held in Kuwait on April 18.
He added that military and civilian representatives from both sides will observe the implementation of the truce.
On December 15, an Ansarullah delegation and Hadi’s representatives began UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland with the aim of reaching a solution to the country’s conflict. The talks led to a shaky truce that was repeatedly breached mainly by Saudis before they officially announced an end to it on January 2.
The Houthi Ansarullah movement took state matters into their own hands after the resignation and escape of Hadi, which threw Yemen into a state of uncertainty and threatened a total security breakdown in the country, where an al-Qaeda affiliate is present.
Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen since late March 2015 in a bid to return Hadi to power. Nearly 9,400 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.
Yemenis, in return, have been carrying out retaliatory attacks on the Saudi forces deployed in the country as well as targets inside Saudi Arabia.