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UN envoy to Yemen welcomes Houthi offer of peace initiative

  • Published at 06:07 am September 22nd, 2019
U.N. envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is seen during his departure at Sanaa airport, Yemen on November 24, 2018 Reuters

The offer came a week after the devastating attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities

The United Nation has welcomed the announcement from Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels on the cessation of all military attacks on Saudi Arabia as part of a peace initiative.

In a statement from UN headquarters in New York issued on Saturday, Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths stated the plan to halt all attacks in Saudi Arabia "could send a powerful message of the will to end the war," DW reports.

Griffiths welcomed "the desire for a political solution to end the conflict." He also stressed "the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity and moving forward with all necessary steps to reduce violence, military escalation and unhelpful rhetoric," the statement said.

The offer comes a week after the devastating drone and missile attacks that hit Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

DW reported that in a response issued by Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said: "We judge other parties by their deeds, actions and not by their words, so we will see [whether] they actually do this or not."

What did the Houthis offer?

A Houthi official said on Friday they will stop aiming missile and drone attacks at Saudi Arabia if a coalition targeting Yemen does the same, nearly a week after the Houthis claimed a strike on Saudi oil facilities.

Speaking on the group's Al Masirah TV, head of the Houthi political office Mahdi al-Mashat called for a halt to strikes on both sides and for serious talks among all the players involved.

"I call on all parties from the different sides of the war to engage seriously in genuine negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude anyone," Mashat said.

The Saudi-led military coalition did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Houthi announcement.

Strikes in Saudi oil facilities

On September 14, a Houthi-led attack in two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Saturday, knocked out more than half the Kingdom’s output, a move that sent oil prices soaring and increase tensions in the Middle East.

The pre-dawn strikes follow earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Gulf waters. 

The Houthis have insisted they are responsible for a devastating September 14 assault on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities that initially halved the kingdom's production, but the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran.

Tehran, which supports the Houthis, has denied any involvement in the attacks.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest exporter, shipping more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day, and for years has served as the supplier of last resort to markets.

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