UPDATES WITH UN ENVOY’S ARRIVAL
By Mohamed al-Samei
SANAA (AA) – Yemen's Houthi rebel group has welcomed remarks by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he voiced hope for reaching a political solution to the five-year conflict in Yemen.
"Bin Salman's optimism about stopping the war is positive,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the group’s political council, said in statements cited by the Houthi-run Saba news agency.
“Turning the discussion into negotiations requires [Saudis] to show seriousness and to deal in a realistic way without any dictations,” he said.
In an interview with CBS News on Monday, bin Salman said Saudi Arabia was open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.
“First, if Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, the political solution will be much easier. Today we are open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen. We hope this happens today rather than tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday for talks with Houthi leaders on ways to reach a truce with Saudi Arabia.
A source in the UN envoy's office told Anadolu Agency that Griffiths will discuss with Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi and other members the prospects for calm between the rebel group and Saudi Arabia.
Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa.
The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara