Yemen will halt its war on Huthi fighters if they agree to a six-point truce offer, the defense council said Sunday, as fighting raged on three fronts and government claimed to have killed another 24 Houthis. The announcement by Yemen’s Supreme National Defense Council came shortly after a government official told AFP that the Huthis’ Saturday truce offer was rejected “because it does not include a sixth point, which demands a pledge from the Houthis not to attack Saudi territory.” “If the Houthis agree to start implementing the six points… the government does not see a problem in stopping military operations,” the defense council said in a statement. Of the six points, the council mainly stressed that the Huthi fighters should “pledge not to attack Saudi territory and to hand over Yemeni and Saudi captives without any delay.” The Shia Houthisâ€™ leader, Abdul Malak al-Houthi, had offered on Saturday to accept the government’s “five” conditions to end the war, but demanded a halt to government military attacks as a precondition. Initially the government had set five conditions to end the war. But the sixth condition concerning the pledge to end attacks against neighboring Saudi Arabia was apparently added after the fighters locked horns with Riyadh. The five conditions include the rebels’ withdrawal from official buildings, the reopening of roads in the north, the return of weapons seized from security services, the release of all military and civilian prisoners, including Saudis, as well as the abandoning of military posts in the mountains. The Huthis’ leader said in an audio message released on the Internet on Saturday that following his offer, “the ball is now in the other party’s court.” He said the rebels would accept the terms “in order to stop the bloodshed and the genocide against civilians, and to end the catastrophic situation in the country.” Houthi’s statement came on the heels of an announcement from the fighters on Monday that they had withdrawn from Saudi territory they had occupied since November. Meanwhile clashes continued in northern Yemen, and the defense ministry claimed on Sunday the killing of 24 rebels in different confrontations. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said fighting broke out on three fronts near Saada, 240 kilometers north of the capital Sanaa, and that government jets were carrying out air raids in the area.
May 26, 2015