Houthi official warns Saudi Arabia: 'We'll move war to your lands'
Mohamed al-Atifi, the defence minister of the Houthi's self-styled government – which the international community does not recognise - made the warning to Saudi Arabia and its allies during a visit to the Hodeidah governorate, according to the Houthi-led Saba news agency.
"The situation today, at this stage, is heading towards calm and reaching comprehensive peace," Atifi said.
However he warned that the Houthis will move the fighting to the territory of Saudi Arabia and its allies if they do not respect the new agreement.
"All of this depends on the sincerity of the intentions of the leaders of the aggression coalition (referring to the Saudi coalition) with what has been agreed upon with the revolutionary [Houthi] leadership and its affiliated political council," he added, stressing that "commitment to these understandings is in the interest of the region and its people," according to Saba.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia released 104 detainees to war-torn Yemen in a unilateral move that follows simultaneous detainee exchanges between Yemen's warring parties.
The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-backed Houthis ousted the internationally-recognised government from the capital Sanaa in 2014, said the additional release was to support dialogue in continuing efforts to end Yemen's conflict.
"With this breakthrough, the Houthi group - the de facto authority in Sanaa - and Saudi Arabia have begun a journey of cooperation after eight years of antagonism, bloodshed, & fighting."— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 17, 2023
Are the Saudi-Houthi talks a turning point in Yemen's war? https://t.co/d7YhCfALxt
The swap came days after Saudi and Omani delegations arrived in Sanaa to negotiate a permanent ceasefire deal with Houthi officials and end Riyadh's military involvement there.
The visit was an indication of progress in the Oman-mediated negotiations between the Saudis and Houthis, which run in parallel to UN peace efforts.
The development followed Saudi Arabia’s historic China-brokered deal with long-time foe Iran last month.
The war in Yemen has largely been seen as a proxy battle between the two regional states, and their reconciliation is considered to be an important stepping stone in ending other regional crises where both Riyadh and Tehran are involved.
Atifi warned the coalition members would face a heavy loss if they breached the agreement, saying it would place them in an "endless predicament."
"They must learn from previous lessons because our guns, cannons, missiles, and drones are ready," threatening that the upcoming battles will not be inside Yemen but "in the distant depth of the aggressive" nations.
The war in Yemen has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and left the country in a severe humanitarian crisis, where around 80 percent of the population is now dependent on aid.