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UN Envoy Welcomes Huthi Rebels’ Vow To Halt Attacks As Saudis Remain Cautious

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has welcomed a vow by Huthi rebels to end attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations envoy for Yemen has said Huthi rebels’ announcement that they are halting all attacks on Saudi Arabia could help end the long, deadly civil war in the Gulf of Aden country.

Special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths on September 21 said implementation of the initiative by the Huthis "in good faith could send a powerful message of the will to end the war."

In a statement from the UN headquarters in New York, the UN special envoy praised "the desire for a political solution to end the conflict."

Griffiths stressed "the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity and moving forward with all necessary steps to reduce violence, military escalation, and unhelpful rhetoric."

Riyadh earlier on September 21 said it had taken a "wait-and-see" response to the announcement by the Iran-backed Huthi militants that they are halting all drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said after the surprise announcement by the Shi'ite Muslim rebels that "we judge other parties by their deeds, actions and not by their words, so we will see."

The minister said Riyadh was consulting with allies and awaiting results of an investigation into the September 14 attack on a major oil facility before deciding what to do.

The announcement the Huthis' supreme council came a week after the group claimed responsibility for the September 14 strike that shook global energy markets and significantly raised regional tensions.

Despite the Huthi claim, U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed the attack on Tehran and have warned that all options, including military, remain on the table.

U.S. President Donald Trump on September 20 authorized a "moderate" bolstering of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) following the attack.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move was "defensive in nature" but warned that further moves could take place in the future.

Iran has denied involvement in the attack and warned the United States that any attack would lead to an "all-out war."

The top commander for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said on September 21 that his forces had carried out "war exercises and are ready for any scenario."

General Hossein Salami, attending a ceremony showing off parts of a U.S. drone that Iran shot down in June, added that “if anyone crosses our borders, we will hit them."

The Iran-backed Huthis, who captured the capital, Sana'a, and other parts of Yemen in September 2014, have been fighting against a Saudi-led coalition that supports the country's internationally recognized government in a devastating conflict.

That conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and created a humanitarian nightmare for millions more.

Many people have called the conflict a proxy war between Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-led Iran.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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