Saudi Arabia to offer Houthis new ceasefire

There have been 5 ceasefire agreements since 2016

Saudi Arabia will offer a new ceasefire agreement to Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, according to two senior Saudi officials.

The officials described the initiative as a package of humanitarian and confidence building measures, during a background briefing with reporters.

"If the Houthis look at the package, it's more than we are coming to a ceasefire. It's going to lead to a political solution in Yemen," a senior Saudi coalition official said in response to a question from Fox News. "This is the most important thing, and this is the core of the initiative."

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Saudia Arabia, the internationally recognized Yemeni government and Houthi rebels have participated in five ceasefires since 2016, though Saudi coalition leadership views this time as different given heavy losses suffered by the Houthis.

If accepted, the new deal will be monitored by the United Nations and will go into effect in different phases.

Intense fighting has erupted in recent weeks between pro-government troops and Houthi rebels, as rebel fighters attempt to capture Yemen’s Marib province. If the strategic area falls into the hands of the Iranian-backed rebels, it will put further pressure on Yemen's government.

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The conflict has spilled over into neighboring Saudi Arabia with ballistic missile and drone attacks by Houthi fighters. The Houthis have said this is in response to ongoing Saudi airstrikes against their positions.

The six-year war resulted in 233,000 casualties as of December 2020, according to estimates by the U.N. Humanitarian office. In addition, 80% of Yemen’s population now relies on humanitarian aid for survival as much of the country is on the brink of famine.

After a visit to Marib, Yemen, last week, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator David Gressly called on the international community to provide more support to suffering civilians caught in the crossfire.

"Yemen is approaching the point of no return." Gressly said during the trip. "If we make the wrong choice now, Yemen will experience the worst famine the world has seen in decades."