Saudi to Houthis: Kingdom’s borders are ‘red line’

Saudi’s warning comes after the Houthis attempted to infiltrate the kingdom’s borders, which led to the killing of seven Saudi soldiers including an officer

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A Saudi military spokesman warned on Sunday Iran-backed Houthis militias that the kingdom’s borders are a “red line” after the latter attempted to infiltrate Saudi territories, Al-Hadath, the sister channel of Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri, who is an advisor for the Saudi defence minister and spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab Coalition in Yemen, told Al-Hadath that Riyadh “will not accept any violations” after the Saudi military lost seven of its troops while trying to halt Houthi militias from infiltrating the kingdom’ border on Saturday.

Asiri urged the international community to “determine the fate” of the peace talks between the Yemeni warring sides in Kuwait after delays by the Houthis and their allies.

Houthi militia and its allies in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress signed an agreement to set up a council to run the country on Thursday. This has brought a new setback to the already stalled Yemeni talks which started in April in Kuwait.

Asiri also said that Saudi is informing the UN envoy of “continuous” violations by the Yemeni militias.

To dismiss threats by the Houthis, Asiri said the militias’ “campaign on Saudi borders has no military goal,” emphasizing that the “Arab Coalition [in Yemen] will continue until the militias working against legitimacy [of the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi] end in Yemen.”

He also accused Houthis of sending child soldier recruits across the borders.

Since March last year, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition began air strikes to support the government of Hadi, who fled an advance by the Houthis and their allies, elite troops loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni militias on Sunday rejected a peace plan proposed by the United Nations which had already been accepted by Hadi’s government, saying that any settlement must first tackle a unity administration.

“What was presented by the (UN) envoy was no more than just ideas for a solution to the security aspect, subject to debate like other proposals,” a statement from the Houthi delegation in Kuwait said.

The statement cited by the Houthi-run news agency charged that the Yemeni government announcement of a draft settlement was “no more than media stunts” aimed at foiling talks.

The Houthis reiterated their long-standing demand that a peace deal must first forge an accord on a new consensual executive authority, including a new president and government.

This condition is an explicit demand for the removal of Hadi.

However, the rebel delegation still welcomed UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s proposal to extend the talks for another week.

Earlier Sunday, Hadi’s government said it accepted the UN-proposed plan stipulating that the Houthis must withdraw from the capital Sanaa and two major cities which they overran in September 2014.

According to the government, the draft peace deal proposed by the UN envoy requires the rebels to hand over heavy arms before the start of a political dialogue on a final solution.

The Arab League on Sunday has also expressed concerns over the regressing situation between the Yemeni warring sides.

Arab League’s spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said the 22-state regional organization emphasizes the “necessity” for the peace talks to go through, highlighting the need to implement UN Resolution no. 2216.

Security arrangements under Resolution 2216 require the Houthi militias and their allies to withdraw from areas they occupied in 2014 and the handover of weapons.

The conflict in the Arabian Peninsula country has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since then, according to UN figures.

More than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid.

(With AFP)

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