UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Saudi Arabia will monitor the seriousness of the Yemeni rebels in implementing its peace initiative, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Saturday.
In return, the rebels warned Saudi Arabia and its allies against rejecting their initiative, waving military escalation, as they commemorated the fifth anniversary of their takeover of the capital Sanaa on September 21, 2014.
Contrary to all expectations, the rebels on Friday evening launched a “peace initiative” by announcing a halt to attacks on Saudi Arabia “pending a” salute of its kind or better “, nearly a week after unprecedented attacks on Aramco in the oil-rich east.
The Houthis adopted the September 14 attacks on the Khurais oil facility in eastern Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest crude refinery in Abqaiq, some 200 kilometers north of Khurais.
But Washington has confirmed that the attacks were launched from Iran, at a time when Saudi Arabia is investigating the point of departure, ruled out that the missiles and drones that targeted Aramco had originated from Yemen, but from the location of the north of the kingdom.
“We judge the other parties based on their actions, not their words, so we will see whether they will actually implement (the initiative) or not,” Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh on Saturday.
“For the reason that led them to do that, we have to examine the issue in depth.”
In a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the Houthis’ takeover of Sanaa, Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Supreme Political Council, the political authority of the rebels, said on Friday night: “We declare to stop targeting Saudi Arabia with drones, ballistic and winged missiles and all forms of targeting.”
He added, “We are waiting for the greeting of similar or better ones” by Riyadh, calling for “serious engagement in serious and real negotiations leading to comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude any of the parties.”
The Houthis’ announcement is in stark contrast to the position they have taken so far, as they have been challenged and threatened in recent days to launch new attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Houthi supporters commemorated their takeover of Sanaa in a rally in the Yemeni capital called “Freedom and Independence”, carrying pictures of their leaders and their machine guns, an AFP photographer said.
During the ceremony, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council and head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee, warned against rejecting their initiative to stop the war.
“We warn the countries of aggression against rejecting the initiative of the president,” he said.
“Escalation can only be met by escalation.”
The rebels have controlled Sanaa and large areas of northern, central and western Yemen since 2014. Government forces are trying to recapture the territory with the support of a Saudi-led military coalition, in a conflict that has killed thousands and caused the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.
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