Yemen rebels say no talks with govt in 'enemy countries'

Yemen rebels say no talks with govt in 'enemy countries'
The Houthi rebels say they will refuse talks with the Hadi government, Saudi Arabia and other 'enemy countries'
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The Houthi rebels are refusing to speak to 'enemy countries' [Getty]

Yemen's Houthi rebels are not prepared to hold talks with the government in Saudi Arabia or other "enemy countries", an official said Thursday, after a proposal to meet in Riyadh.

The Iran-backed rebels said they were open to finding a peaceful solution to the seven-year war but baulked at travelling to Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition fighting on the side of the government.

"We will welcome an invitation to dialogue that does not take place in enemy countries," a Houthi official said on condition of anonymity.

"We will always extend our hand for peace," the official told AFP.

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The Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council this week suggested hosting talks between the two sides between March 29 and April 7 in Riyadh.

But a GCC official, also speaking anonymously, said it was unlikely the insurgents would accept the invitation.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, the year after the Huthis seized Sanaa and swathes of territory in the country's north.

The ensuing war has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, directly or indirectly, and displaced millions, in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, the UN voiced disappointment after a donors' conference raised $1.3 billion, far short of the $4.27 billion target.