Cairo: The Yemeni government on Thursday called for confidence-building measures amid an international push for reviving the country’s long-stalled peace process.
“The statements made over the past few days by several countries calling for a political solution [in Yemen] harmonise with the interest of the political leadership headed by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to reach a political solution,” the government said in a statement carried by the official news agency Saba.
Yemen has descended into devastating unrest since the Iran-allied Al Houthi militants deposed the internationally recognised government and seized parts of the country’s territory, triggering a severe humanitarian crisis.
The United States on Wednesday called for a ceasefire in Yemen, as Sweden said it is ready to be the venue for a new round of talks on Yemen’s peace proposed by UN envoy Martin Griffiths. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis both urged an end to hostilities and resumption of talks that collapsed in September.
The Saudi-backed government expressed Thursday “prompt readiness” for confidence-building steps including release of war prisoners and boost of resources of Yemen’s central bank in order to ease economic hardships in the poor country.
Other steps “include reopening of airports according to synchronised measures, which would guarantee safety and allow the UN to monitor the Hodeida port, the government added.
It also demanded Yemenis’ free access to humanitarian aid, being hampered by Al Houthis, and ending rebels’ siege of civilians in the south-western province of Taiz.
An attempt by Griffiths to hold UN-sponsored indirect talks between the Yemeni government and Al Houthis crumbled in September after the extremists failed to show up.
The British diplomat is seeking to hold a new round later this month.
In June, the Yemeni government forces, supported by a Saudi-led alliance, started a major offensive to liberate Hodeida and its crucial port from Al Houthis.
The onslaught was temporarily halted to back UN efforts for relaunching Yemen’s peacemaking.
In recent weeks, the Yemeni forces have stepped up attacks against Al Houthis in and around Hodeida in west Yemen.
The Arab coalition has hampered the arrival of rebel reinforcements to Hodeida by mounting a series of air strikes, Al Arabiya reported Thursday.
The strikes, which targeted Al Houthis’ training camps and gatherings east of Hodeida, left dozens of the militiamen dead and injured, according to military sources in Yemen’s west coast.
The bombardment also targeted militant reinforcements on a coastal route near the Hodeida University, according to the report.
The Yemeni army continues to dispatch more military forces to the edges of Hodeida, including thousands of soldiers and fighters trained in city battles as well as military hardware.
The coalition accuses Al Houthis of taking advantage of their control of the Hodeida port to obtain weapons from their Iranian patrons as well as confiscate aid intended for Yemenis in order to sustain their war efforts.