Yemen’s Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of the Shi’ite Houthi movement, gave his first televised speech since the beginning of the Saudi-led war against him, saying that the group will continue to resist Saudi aggression.
At the same time, Houthi said that the offers for negotiation of a political settlement to the conflict remain on the table, and that Houthi delegates went to the “peace talks” in Oman this weekend, even though pro-Saudi forces already ruled out taking part in it.
This has been a recurring problem with attempts to start peace talks, as the Saudis have maintained that any talks be conditional on the Houthis first disarming and surrendering the entire country to their side. The one round of talks the pro-Saudi faction even attended, the only time the two sides were in the same room was when the pro-Saudi delegates attacked a press conference by the Houthis.
Houthi did not address the surrender demand, but did say there would be a public celebration Monday to commemorate the one year anniversary of Houthi forces capturing the capital city. The Houthis held the capital for months with President Hadi still in power, and had talks on a democratic transition. Hadi resigned in January to protest the direction the talks were going, and the Saudi war centers on reinstalling him as the “rightful president.”
Hadi was installed in 2012 as a pro-US, pro-Saudi military leader in a single candidate election. It was meant to be a two-year term, but he extended it an additional year, and was still resisting calls for free elections at the time of his resignation.