Saudi Arabia Says Ready to Halt Military Operations in Yemen

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Friday expressed readiness to halt military operations in Yemen as consultations in capital city Riyadh continue for the third day in order to find a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

The Saudi-led coalition, fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, said that it was committed to the ceasefire in Yemen following an appeal by the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf.

“The coalition air forces did not carry out any combat operations in Yemen since the ceasefire came into order on Wednesday,” the coalition said in a statement.

The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council met on Friday for the third time without participation of the Houthi group. The Houthis refused to participate in the talks in Riyadh, saying that Saudi Arabia is part of the war in Yemen and talks should be held in a “neutral” country.

Meanwhile, the UN Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg said that he will continue to discuss with all warring parties in Yemen and hoped for preservation of the truce during the month of Ramadan.

“I am engaging with all sides in Yemen about the ceasefire,” Grundberg said, adding he met with Houthi chief negotiator Mohammad Abdul Salam in Muscat, the capital city of Oman on Thursday.

“I met with Abdul Salam as part of efforts to reach a truce, ease the fuel crisis and facilitate freedom of movement,” Grundberg said in a statement issued by his office.

The development came on Friday as the Gulf Cooperation Council held talks in Riyadh aimed at reviving Grundberg’s efforts to resume UN-led peace talks aimed at ending the war. The summit is expected to continue until April 7.

“Talks are held behind closed doors today (Friday) on military and political issues as well as the humanitarian factors,” Majid Al Fadhil, Yemen’s Deputy Human Rights Minister, told The National.

“We will reach the right goals at the end of these consultations, it’s a historic time for Yemen, the last chance to get out of this long war,” Al Fadhil added.

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