SOCHI, October 2. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement’s readiness to declare a ceasefire in Yemen and enter talks on resolving the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Wednesday.
"Inclusive talks are the only way to resolve the difficult situation in Yemen, which, according to the United Nations, is facing a humanitarian disaster," he pointed out. "It is encouraging that the Houthis have put forward an initiative to declare a ceasefire and enter talks, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud has responded positively," Lavrov added.
"I think that United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths [who is currently on a visit to Sana’a — TASS], who genuinely wants to advance the peace process, can rely on these steps, which are prompting cautious optimism," the Russian top diplomat emphasized.
On Monday, the Al Masirah TV channel reported that the Houthi movement was ready to release 350 prisoners, including three Saudi nationals. On the same day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that the Houthis had released 290 people with the assistance of the ICRC and the UN. However, Spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition Turki al-Maliki said he had no information on the matter.
The war between the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and Houthi rebels from the Ansar Allah movement has been raging since August 2014. The conflict entered an active phase when a Saudi-led coalition invaded the country at the request of President Hadi. Saudi Arabia, supported by the air forces of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, was involved in a military operation against the rebels. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan are also part of the coalition.