TO bring an end to nearly six years of war that has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has presented a new peace initiative which includes a nationwide ceasefire under UN supervision and the reopening of air and sea links.
The proposal was announced in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
Indeed this is a very welcome and positive initiative on the part of Saudi leadership to take the region towards peace and stability.
Now the onus is on the Houthis to accept the peace offer in the best interest of the people of Yemen who have been suffering because of this prolonged conflict.
An estimated 20 million people, two-thirds of the Yemeni population, depend on humanitarian assistance. Some two million children are acutely malnourished.
In addition to conflict, Yemen has seen a collapse of its health system, leaving it incapable of coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Many previous peace plans for Yemen have failed, including last year’s Saudi ceasefire.
But the kingdom is now offering some concessions, the Houthis have long called for, including the opening of vital air and sea links.
Therefore, there is no reason for Houthis now to show the back as doing so will amount to further plunging Yemen into a deeper crisis.
The open-heartedness of Saudi Arabia is really appreciable as it has made the peace offer despite continued attacks on their security and energy infrastructure.
There has also been an international effort in recent months to bring an end to conflict in Yemen.
A push by UN envoy Martin Griffiths was recently bolstered by US President Joe Biden’s new focus on ending this war, and the appointment of US special envoy Tim Lenderking to help make it happen.
We understand that collective efforts will go a long way in achieving the cherished dream of peace.
The parties must immediately engage in a meaningful dialogue to end the hostilities which will also open doors for delivery of humanitarian aid to the country.
The very statement of the Saudi Foreign Minister that his country wants the guns to fall completely silent shows the good intent and it must be reciprocated by the other side.