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Only Houthis can end Yemen war, says Saudi FM

The Houthis overran Yemen's capital Sanaa unopposed in September last year [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 October, 2015

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The Houthi rebels and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are they only parties that can end the war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister has said.
Houthi rebels and their allies in Yemen are the only ones who can bring an end to the seven-month-old war there, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"I believe that the matter of the end of hostilities lies entirely with the Houthis and with Saleh," Adel al-Jubeir said, referring to former Yemeni president Ali Abdallah Saleh.

"They are the ones who started this, and they are the ones who continue this," he told a joint news conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

    

I believe that the matter of the end of hostilities lies entirely with the Houthis and with Saleh

- Adel al-Jubeir

The Houthis overran Yemen's capital Sanaa unopposed in September last year and went on to seize territory as far south as Aden, aided by renegade troops loyal to Saleh.

Their advance prompted Saudi Arabia in March to form an Arab coalition which began air raids and assistance to Yemeni forces on the ground.

Bolstered by heavy weaponry and Gulf troops as well as Yemeni fighters trained in Saudi Arabia, the anti-rebel fighters since July have re-taken Aden as well as four other southern provinces.

The UN estimates that about 5,000 people, many of them civilians, have been killed in the war.

Saleh's party last week said it had accepted a UN plan to end the fighting.

According to the plan, Saleh's General People's Congress [GPC] party would accept UN Security Council Resolution 2216 under an "implementation mechanism that would be agreed on by all parties" in Yemen, the party said.

Resolution 2216 calls for the withdrawal of rebel forces from territories they have captured and for them to lay down their arms.

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been holding secret talks with Saleh's GPC and Houthi representatives in neutral Yemen.

     
      A French mission visited Saudi Arabia on Monday [Getty] 
In September, coalition-supported forces began a major offensive east of Sanaa as the internationally backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi pulled out of UN-brokered peace talks.

The government said it would not attend the talks unless the rebels first accepted Resolution 2216.

"The coalition has achieved success in reversing the gains by Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen," and now is the time for a political process to begin based on Resolution 2216, Jubeir said.

Fabius said France supported efforts towards a political solution but needed "all parties" to agree to talks.

Fabius was in Riyadh with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on the third high-level French mission to the kingdom this year.

On Monday, Yemen's prime minister Khaled Bahah was in Riyadh to meet Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition, as reports emerged of differences between the two leaders.

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