Saudi Arabia will offer a new ceasefire deal to the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, according to two senior Saudi officials.
Officials described the initiative as a package of humanitarian and confidence-building measures, during a briefing with reporters.
“If the Houthis look at the package, it’s more that we come to a ceasefire. It will lead to a political solution in Yemen,” a senior Saudi coalition official said in response to a question from Fox News. . “This is the most important thing, and it is the heart of the initiative.”
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Saudi Arabia, the internationally recognized Yemeni government, and Houthi rebels have participated in five ceasefires since 2016, though Saudi coalition leaders view this time as different given the heavy losses suffered by the Houthis.
If accepted, the new agreement will be monitored by the United Nations and will enter into force in different phases.
Intense fighting has erupted in recent weeks between pro-government troops and Houthi rebels, as rebel fighters attempt to capture Yemen’s Marib province. If the strategic area falls into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels, it will put additional pressure on the Yemeni government.
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The conflict has spread to neighboring Saudi Arabia with ballistic missile and drone attacks by Houthi fighters. The Houthis said it was in response to ongoing Saudi airstrikes against their positions.
The Six Years War claimed 233,000 lives in December 2020, according to estimates from the UN Humanitarian Office. In addition, 80% of Yemen’s population now depends on humanitarian aid for survival as much of the country is on the brink of famine.
After a visit to Marib, Yemen, last week, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly called on the international community to provide more support to suffering civilians caught in the crossfire.
“Yemen is approaching the point of no return.” Gressly said during the trip. “If we make the wrong choice now, Yemen will experience the worst famine the world has seen in decades.”
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