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Saudi says prepared for ceasefire in Yemen if Houthis agree

Saudi says prepared for ceasefire in Yemen if Houthis agree

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Houthis would have to agree that Yemen was free

Saudi Arabia sees some indications that a ceasefire could be agreed in Yemen but called on Iran-backed Houthis to accept that the impoverished country should be free.

Since March 2015, Yemen has been gripped by war pitting the Houthi group, backed by troops loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the internationally recognised Hadi government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said he hoped the United Nations would persuade parties in the conflict to come back to the negotiating table. He said Houthis would have to “come to their senses” and agree that Yemen was free.

The United States and Britain called on Sunday for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Yemen to end violence between Houthis and the government, which is supported by Gulf states.

The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has come under heavy criticism since an air strike this month on a funeral gathering in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed 140 people according to a United Nations’ estimate and 82 according to the Houthis.

Jubeir said the Sunni Kingdom was being very careful to abide by humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict. He said that those responsible for the funeral bombing would be punished while victims would be compensated.

When asked about an offensive on ISIL militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Jubeir said ISIL would lose the war. But he added that he was worried about Shia militias entering Mosul and “engaging in bloodbaths”.

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