US urges Houthis to lay down arms ‘Re­turn to peace talks’

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_shosh shoshana@7days.ae

The US De­part­ment of State has called on Houthi rebels to put down their arms and come to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble af­ter they at­tacked a UAE aid ves­sel.

In a state­ment, John Kirby, spokesman for the State De­part­ment, urged the Iran-al­lied group to re­join UN-bro­kered peace talks that col­lapsed in Au­gust.

He said: “Res­o­lu­tion to the con­flict in Ye­men must fo­cus on a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion and we urge the Houthi-Saleh groups to demon­strate their com­mit­ment to a peace­ful so­lu­tion by tak­ing steps to de-es­ca­late by ad­her­ing to a ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties with­out pre­con­di­tions and we con­tinue to call on all par­ties to re­turn to the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by the United Na­tion.”

Kirby de­nounced Sat­ur­day’s at­tack on the Aus­tralian-built, high-speed lo­gis­tics cata­ma­ran, the HSV-2 Swift, en-route from the south­ern city of Aden. He said: “The United States strongly con­demns the Houthi forces’ un­pro­voked at­tack against a UAE ves­sel op­er­at­ing near the Bab Al Man­deb.” The Com­mand of the Arab Coali­tion Forces con­firmed an Emi­rati ves­sel was tar­geted by Houthi mili­tia. It said the ves­sel was car­ry­ing aid and that the at­tack was a “dan­ger­ous in­di­ca­tion” of “ter­ror­ist op­er­a­tions” in the area, ac­cord­ing to UAE na­tional news agency WAM. It did not state what was fired at the ves­sel or how badly dam­aged it was, but said “coali­tion air and naval forces started chas­ing and tar­get­ing boats which car­ried out the at­tack”. The com­mand said it launched an oper­a­tion at 12.30am on Sat­ur­day to res­cue civil­ian pas­sen­gers af­ter the Houthis tar­geted the Swift, which they said was owned by the UAE’s Na­tional Marine Dredg­ing Com­pany. The at­tack has also been con­demned by the GCC and Arab League.

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