Amid a renewed push by UN envoy Martin Griffiths to get Yemen's warring parties to start talks, Houthi rebels and Yemen’s government have said they will halt fighting to come to the negotiating table.
Houthi rebels also announced their decision to halt drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s forces which are supported by troops from United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi Higher Revolutionary Committee, announced the group's "readiness to suspend and halt all military operations" - provided that the Saudi-UAE alliance battling his movement is prepared to do the same.
Al-Houthi also called on his fellow rebels to stop attacks against the Saudi alliance to show goodwill and not give the alliance any justification for further attacks against Houthi forces.
Yemen government said it has informed the UN envoy of its decision to send "a government delegation to the talks with the aim of reaching a political solution", according to the country’s public Saba news agency.
While the date has not been set, Martin Griffiths said it would be "soon" and that he plans to travel to rebel-held capital city of Sanaa later this week to discuss arrangements. The UN Security Council envoy said that he planned to bring the warring parties together in Sweden. "We must seize this positive international momentum on Yemen," Griffiths told the council. "This is an opportunity at a crucial moment to pursue a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement to the conflict." He also said the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government were about to conclude an agreement on exchanging prisoners and detainees.
Special Envoy for #Yemen Martin Griffiths today briefed Council on efforts to bring warring parties to negotiating table: "With increased international attention has come a renewed commitment from the Yemeni parties to work on a political solution." https://t.co/y0fwu09ji5 pic.twitter.com/qoLageP03V
— UN Political Affairs (@UN_DPA) November 17, 2018
This renewed effort to bring the fighting parties to talks comes after weeks of fresh attacks between Saudi-coalition forces and Houthi rebels around the port city of Hodeidah. Previous attempts to organize peace talks between the Yemini government and Houthi rebels broke down in September.