Yemen’s Houthis seek a “permanent ceasefire” with the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, a Houthi spokesman told Yemeni TV on Sunday.
Since a ceasefire expired at the beginning of October, there have still been no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen or Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia, but fighting on the ground has increased. Oman has renewed diplomacy between the warring parties by mediating talks, and an Omani delegation arrived in Saana, Yemen, on December 21.
“We are working to reach a point of clarity in Yemen, in which we move into either a truce or permanent ceasefire, and we have presented our point of view to the Omani mediator,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam told Almasirah TV, according to The Cradle.
The Houthis, known formally as Ansar Allah, want a full lifting of the blockade on Yemen and for government employees to be paid. “Any solution to Yemen’s crisis must be based on the disbursement of [government] employees’ salaries from oil and gas revenues according to the 2014 budget,” Abdel Salam said.
The war in Yemen has killed at least 377,000 people since the US-backed coalition intervened in 2015. More than half of the people killed died as a result of starvation and preventable disease caused by the US-Saudi siege on the country.
While there has been a cessation of violence, the war could escalate at any time as long as there is no permanent settlement and fighting escalates on the ground. Saudi shelling has been reported in Yemen’s northern Saada province, and the Houthis have been attacking oil infrastructure and have clashed with UAE-backed separatists, known as the Southern Transitional Council (STC).
The US could help bring an end to the war by cutting off support for Saudi Arabia, which is highly reliant on the US to maintain its air force. But the Biden administration killed an effort in Congress to end support for the brutal war by pressuring Democrats to vote against a war powers resolution sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The administration’s pressure worked as Sanders caved and decided not even to hold a vote on the resolution.