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