Riyadh mulls 5-day Yemen cease-fire
The announcement came during a joint press conference held with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said his country was considering a five-day cease-fire in Yemen to allow the delivery of relief assistance to Yemenis affected by the ongoing crisis.

The announcement came during a joint press conference held with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh.

"I informed Kerry that Riyadh is considering a five-day cease-fire in Yemen to coordinate with international organizations with a view to delivering relief aid [in Yemen]," Jubeir told reporters.

He went on to deny that there was any communication between Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Shiite Houthi group, noting that the oil-rich kingdom was thinking about airdropping aid material to suffering Yemenis.

"But this isn't enough," Jubeir said. "We have to do more in this regard… we will wait until a cease-fire is reached to send humanitarian aid, which will depend on the Houthis accepting the cease-fire [initiative]."

"There should be no Iranian role in this operation," he added. "Iran is playing a negative role in Yemen… It supports the Houthis financially and ideologically and is trying to smuggle arms into Yemen to stoke the conflict."

He also said his talks with Kerry had not touched on proposals for the deployment of ground troops in Yemen.

Kerry, for his part, welcomed a Saudi cease-fire initiative and urged Yemen's Houthis to accept it.

"We strongly urge the Houthis and those who back them… not to miss this major opportunity to address the needs of the Yemeni people and find a peaceful way forward in Yemen," Kerry told reporters in Riyadh.

Kerry went on to say that the proposed cease-fire – which, he added, would be "renewable" – called for "no bombing, no shooting and no movement or repositioning of troops to achieve military advantage."

"But this cease-fire is conditioned on the Houthis agreeing to live by these same commitments," he stressed.

He promised to provide additional details, along with Jubeir, in Paris on Friday.

Washington's top diplomat had met earlier in the day with Yemen's embattled president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, at the latter's Riyadh residence.

Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have since sought to extend their influence southward.

On March 25, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi positions across Yemen.

Riyadh says the campaign comes in response to Hadi's appeals for military intervention against the Houthis.

Hadi, who is backed by the Sunni-majority Gulf States, fled to Riyadh in March after Houthi forces attacked his residence in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, from which he had hoped to reinstate his embattled presidency.

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Last Modified: 2015-05-08 12:21:59
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