US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for an end to Yemen’s 17-month conflict in his meetings with Saudi Arabian officials.
“This war needs to end and it needs to end as quickly as possible,” Kerry said on Thursday after having a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and his other (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council counterparts, Britain’s Foreign Office junior minister Tobias Ellwood and UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to Yemen.
He said the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council has come up with an initiative to halt the bloodshed in Yemen and resume peace talks.
The top US diplomat said participants “agreed on a renewed approach to negotiations” between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi fighters following three months of negotiations in Kuwait that ended earlier in August without a conclusion.
Kerry added that the initiative demands that the Houthi Ansarullah movement lay down arms and hand over their weapons to a third party.
“This is a proposal that offers the Houthis an opportunity to have confidence in the government structure that will be put in place,” he said.
Kerry also condemned missile attacks by the Yemeni forces at targets inside Saudi Arabia. But he did not speak of Riyadh’s heavy bombardment of Yemeni cities and towns which has killed about 10,000 people since March last Year.
Meanwhile, the Saudi foreign minister claimed that the Kingdom has no interests in Yemen and its war is aimed at restoring peace to the country.
The United States has backed the Saudi campaign in Yemen. In November last year, Washington approved a $1.29 billion rearming program for Riyadh, including thousands of similar bombs.
The offensive in Yemen was launched in March 2015 to crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement and their allies and restore the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to power.
The Houthi fighters took state matters into their own hands in the wake of Hadi’s resignation and escape, which threw Yemen into a state of uncertainty and threatened a total security breakdown in the country, where an al-Qaeda affiliate is present.