Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have warned Saudi Arabia that they will strike the Kingdom and its coalition allies if attacked, as the two sides continue to engage in talks to secure a lasting ceasefire.
According to the Houthi-run Saba News Agency, the group’s Defence Minister, Mohamed Al-Atifi, stated in a visit to Hudaydah province that the current situation “is heading towards calm and reaching comprehensive peace”, amid significant progress in talks between the Houthis and Saudis.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabian and Omani delegations met with the Houthis in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in what were the first direct and open talks between representatives from the Lingdom and the rebel movement.
Prior to that, the two sides had agreed to a huge prisoner swap in talks held in Switzerland, which resulted in the freeing and exchange of prisoners this month. Further progress is soon to be expected as a new round of talks have been set to take place following the Eid holiday and celebrations.
Al-Atifi warned, however, that if the Saudi-led coalition breaches the unofficial ceasefire, the Houthis will escalate and move the fighting to within Saudi Arabia and its allies. “All of this depends on the sincerity of the intentions of the leaders of the aggression coalition with what has been agreed upon with the revolutionary [Houthi] leadership and its affiliated political council”, he stated.
Iterating that a “commitment to these understandings is in the interest of the region and its people”, he claimed that coalition members would face heavy losses and an “endless predicament” in such a situation.
“They must learn from previous lessons because our guns, cannons, missiles and drones are ready”, the Houthi official said, threatening that any upcoming battles will not be within Yemen but “in the distant depth of the aggressive” nations.