Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yemen says deal with Houthis 'imminent'

Source: PressTV

Yemen says it is close to a deal to end the six-month war with Houthi fighters eventually after having refused previous peace offers.

Citing a Yemeni official, AFP reported on Wednesday that the development comes "in the light of (Houthi leader Abdul Malak) al-Houthi's acceptance of the six conditions," put forward by the Sana'a, including a commitment not to attack neighboring Saudi Arabia.

"An agreement between the government and the Houthi to end the war is imminent," the official added.

According to the report, a mediator close to the fighters said a committee including government and Houthi representatives would be formed with the task of "establishing peace, and collecting heavy weapons from the Houthis."

It would also "follow up the issue of prisoners and compensation for those affected by the war," he added.

The mediator said the Shia fighters had agreed to "withdraw from the borders (with Saudi Arabia) and hand the area over to the Yemeni army."

He said they have also agreed to "remove roadblocks ... vacate government buildings and hand Saudi prisoners over to the Yemeni government."

Last month, the fighters offered to accept the five conditions originally set by the government for a ceasefire and withdrew from all of the Saudi territory.

Saudi Arabia, however, continued its offensives alongside with the Yemeni Army. Sana'a rejected the Houthis' peace offer, saying it would stop the war only if they complied with the government's sixth condition.

Meanwhile, Ali Al-Ahmad, the founder and director of an independent think-tank in Washington told Press TV that Yemen is under international pressure to end the war on the Houthis.

"There is international push especially from the United States to end the war with the Houthis because the United States feels that it is time to focus on al-Qaeda in Yemen," said Ahmad.

According to the expert, Washington is also trying to convince Riyadh to stop the offensive against Shia fighters.

Saudis have not stopped the attacks on Houthis, he said.

Riyadh joined Yemen's offensive against the Houthis after accusing the Shia fighters of killing a Saudi border guard and occupying two border villages on November 3. Saudi jets began bombing Yemen's northern villages the following day.

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