SANAA, Yemen (AA) – Houthi rebels have called for dialogue with the Saudi-led coalition to bring an end to the protracted conflict in Yemen.
Houthi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hisham Sharaf said the dialogue should take place under the auspices of the UN or with the participation of international partners.
"I advise the so-called Quartet and the coalition of countries of aggression (Saudi-led coalition) to accept to sit with Sanaa to end the war and aggression under the auspices of the UN or through international participation that includes Russia, China, Germany and any of the Gulf states that do not support the aggression," Sharaf said in a statement published by the Houthi-run Saba news agency.
The Houthi government is not recognized internationally.
On Wednesday, the Quartet (the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) expressed concern over the grave humanitarian situation in Yemen, heaping the blame on Houthis for their escalation of war and rejection of a cease-fire.
Sharaf said the group wants dialogue to make arrangements for a cease-fire, the opening of Sanaa airport alongside other sea and land crossings. He also called for lifting the “total siege” imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on Yemen “and the withdrawal of any foreign forces.”
He also wants the dialogue to include talks on the compensation of Yemen and its people for damage incurred during the war as well as discussing mechanisms towards “a political and peaceful solution” to the ongoing war in Yemen.
There was no comment from the Saudi-led coalition on the Houthi call.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% or about 30 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.
A recent United Nations report projected that by the year’s end, the death toll from the seven-year Yemeni conflict will reach 377,000.
* Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar