RIYADH: The latest ceasefire proposal by Iran-backed Houthis is an attempt to foil this week’s peace talks brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Yemeni experts said on Sunday.
The militia have failed to show they want a permanent truce in Yemen, the experts added.
Mahdi Al-Mashat, head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, on Saturday announced a unilateral halt to missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, as well as the suspension of military operations in Yemen, mainly in the central province of Marib, for three days.
As part of a proposed peace deal, the Yemeni militia leader promised to extend the short truce to a permanent ceasefire provided Saudi Arabia reciprocated by lifting restrictions on Sanaa airport and Hodeidah seaports.
However, Yemenis expressed doubts regarding the Houthi desire for peace, citing the movement’s record of breaking agreements.
“They have violated more than 70 agreements since their first war with the Yemeni government,” Hasan Ghaleb, a Yemeni journalist, told Arab News.
He said that the Houthi initiative is aimed at thwarting Saudi Arabia’s retaliatory operations following drone and missile strikes on the Kingdom.
The truce is also designed to hinder consultations between Yemeni parties in Riyadh this week, Ghaleb said.
“This is a maneuver, not an initiative. Since the GCC offered to broker talks between Yemenis, the Houthis have tried every means possible to ruin the talks. When they failed, they floated their proposal,” he said.
The war in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis seized power and forced Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to the southern city of Aden. Tens of thousands of Yemenis have died in the conflict and millions more left on the brink of starvation.
Military operations by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen have blunted the Houthi gains and helped government forces liberate many provinces, including Aden.
The militia last year rejected a Saudi peace initiative to stop the war, and also ignored local and international calls to halt their deadly offensive on the city of Marib.