Saudi Arabia has proposed a new peace initiative to end the ongoing conflict in Yemen between the internationally-recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthis, the Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Monday.
The new initiative includes a nationwide ceasefire that will be implemented under the supervision of the United Nations, Prince Faisal said during a press conference in Riyadh.
Political negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthis will also resume under the initiative, Prince Faisal added.
Watch: Saudi Arabia calls on #Yemen's government and the #Houthis to accept the peace initiative and "be partners in achieving peace."#SaudiInitiativeForPeaceInYemenhttps://t.co/DKVyH67wmx pic.twitter.com/f8UfJlDdti— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 22, 2021
“We will work with the international community, with our partners and with the government of Yemen to push toward this initiative being implemented. We will do all we can to put the necessary pressure on the Houthis to accept and to come to the negotiating table and to lay down arms, because we believe that a stop to the fighting and a focus on a political solution is the only way forward,” Prince Faisal said.
If the two parties agree to the deal, Sanaa airport will reopen, which will allow fuel and food imports through the Hodeidah port, according to the minister.
Iran’s interference in Yemen
The Kingdom rejects Iran’s interference in Yemen as well as its exports of ballistic missiles to the Houthis, Prince Faisal said. He called on the Houthis to accept the peace plan in order to end the conflict.
Iran has been supplying militias in the region with weapons and has led to the destabilization of several countries, he added.
Watch: "The Kingdom also affirms its total rejection of #Iran's interference in the region and in Yemen, as it is the main cause for prolonging the crisis in #Yemen," says Saudi Arabia's FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan.#SaudiInitiativeForPeaceInYemenhttps://t.co/DKVyH67wmx pic.twitter.com/vhqiGgS8BE— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 22, 2021
“The initiative will take effect as soon as the Houthis agree to it,” Prince Faisal said.
“It is up to the Houthis now, and we are ready to go today. We hope that we can have a ceasefire immediately. The Houthis must decide whether to put their interests first or Iran’s interests first.”
Iran backs the Houthis in their war against the government by supplying the group with ballistic missiles, drones, and other military weapons.
The minister reiterated that Saudi Arabia will continue to support the people of Yemen and their government.
“We will nonetheless continue to support the people of Yemen and the government of Yemen, and we will continue to protect our borders and our citizens and our infrastructure from Houthi attacks,” he added.