Middle EastWar

Iran Says Houthi Ceasefire Plan Can Help End Yemen War

Iran offered its support on Tuesday for a ceasefire plan put forward by rebels it backs in Yemen’s war, saying it could be an “appropriate platform” for ending the conflict.

The Houthi rebels on Saturday announced the proposal and offered peace talks on condition Saudi Arabia stops its air strikes and blockade of Yemen and removes “foreign forces.”

The offer came a day after the insurgents fired on 16 targets inside the kingdom, which heads a military coalition fighting on the side of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

On Tuesday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Houthi “plan contained a strong message of determination to end the war.”

“If there is serious and positive interaction with (the plan), it could provide an appropriate platform for ending” the conflict, he said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa the year before, and it has enforced an air and sea blockade of rebel-held areas since 2016.

“We hope that on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, by prioritizing humanitarian issues and advancing the exchange of prisoners, we will see an end to the conflict and witness national reconciliation in Yemen,” Khatibzadeh said.

The Yemen war has killed hundreds of thousands of people directly or indirectly and displaced millions, creating what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council this month proposed hosting talks between Yemen’s warring factions in Riyadh, from March 29 to April 7.

But the rebels responded by saying that while they were open to resolving the conflict peacefully, they would not take part in dialogue “in enemy countries.”

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