Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement says it is open for more talks with representatives of the country’s former Saudi Arabia-backed government if underway negotiations in Sweden make progress.
“If we leave these consultations having made progress — progress in building confidence and finding a framework — we can hold a new round of talks” in the coming months, the spokesman and chief negotiator for the movement said on Sunday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the talks that are taking place in the rural village of Rimbo, Mohammed Abdul-Salam also reiterated his group’s call for reopening of Sana’a International Airport in the country’s capital. The terminal has been closed save for a few select aid flights for nearly three years now.
Separately, however, he said his delegation has participated in the UN-brokered peace negotiations to restore peace in the conflict-plagued Arab country, and not to surrender.
Abdul-Salam told Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network that it was not the Ansarullah delegates who called for indirect talks with representatives from the administration of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, but in fact it was the other way around.
He highlighted that Houthis are in Sweden for Yemen peace talks and not to surrender, saying, “We called for a transitional phase in order for the remaining issues of the national dialogue to advance.”
Abdel-Salam said, “Military operations in Hudaydah must stop and invading forces must go back to their positions. Among the most critical issues that we want to be addressed that the fate of our fellow fighters currently being held captive in the United Arab Emirates.”
The Ansarullah chief negotiator also expressed surprise at the Saudi-led military coalition’s demand on Yemeni army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Committees to lay down arms at the same time as thousands of Saudi mercenaries are fighting in Yemen.