| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Paris Urges Houthis to Accept Saudi Peace Initiative for Yemen

Houthi militias must accept the Saudi peace initiative for Yemen, which is fully aligned with UN efforts, said French Ambassador for Yemen Jean-Marie Safa, criticizing the Iran-backed group for flippant behavior when it comes to advancing a solution for the war-torn country.

“If they (Houthis) really want to put the interest of the Yemeni people above all else, then they must accept the elements of the entire Saudi peace plan, which is in line with the UN peace plan,” said Safa in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

Slamming Houthis for using “hollow slogans” about peace in their public statements, the French diplomat pointed out that the offensive mounted by guerrillas in the northeastern governorate of Marib has exposed the group’s war-driven ideology.

“Saudi Arabia has presented a peace initiative, but Houthis responded with more attacks on the Kingdom and in Yemen. All of their actions are invested in perpetuating fighting, seizing the country, and controlling society,” Safa told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Houthi military campaign against Marib has put the lives of over a million internally displaced Yemenis who sought refuge in the oil-rich governorate under threat.

“What is the value of their words about achieving peace?” questioned Safa.

“These are nothing but slogans that proved hollow in light of all the group’s actions being directed towards war,” he explained.

“Houthis want to control Marib so that the international community will recognize them as the only true power in Yemen,” he said but warned that a Houthi takeover of the governorate would only spell more suffering.

Safa also pointed out that the Saudi peace initiative, at its core, centers around negotiating a political solution with all Yemeni parties within the government and that this fact disturbs Houthis more than anything else.

“Houthis want a peace that contradicts the interests of the Yemeni people and the region,” he noted.

Safa stressed that Yemen is not exclusive to Houthis and that the militia is pushing the country towards endless war.

“The conflict in Yemen is tragic, especially that many outside observers mistakenly confuse Houthis for the Yemeni people,” said Safa, highlighting that the two are different.

“While Houthis claim they are oppressed, the people of Yemen are the real victims,” he affirmed.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat