Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammad Al-Jaber described the Kingdom’s new initiative on Yemen as “strategic and brave”.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the ambassador said the initiative is a continuation of the efforts exerted by the Kingdom since 2011 to restore calm in the neighboring country.
He noted the wide positive international reception of the initiative, ranging from the legitimate government to friendly nations, and even the Iran-backed Houthi militias themselves.
Al-Jaber explained that the Kingdom has received “positive signs” from them, saying that their spokesman did not explicitly reject the initiative, but he simply stated that it “held nothing new”.
Saudi Arabia will continue to exert “all efforts to achieve security and stability in Yemen and to help the Yemenis end their plight that would allow them to effectively and positively become involved in their Arab and Gulf fold,” he vowed.
Moreover, the envoy stressed that the Kingdom has provided the current Yemeni republic with billions of dollars, regardless of the political forces in power and their affiliations.
“At the same time, we are seeking consensus among the Yemenis in order to preserve the security and stability of their state, and therefore, we are in contact with all Yemenis to achieve peace,” he added, while underlining the importance of political dialogue.
Al-Jaber revealed that United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths will set the mechanism for implementing the Saudi initiative.
The Houthis have an opportunity to prove to the world that they do not follow Iran and that they are prioritizing the interests of the Yemeni people above Tehran’s, he stressed.
Asked if he accepts the possibility of Houthis joining a transitional government, the ambassador said: “Everyone will support anything that the Yemenis agree to.”
On whether Saudi Arabia is ready to sponsor comprehensive negotiations on Yemen, he replied: “Without a doubt. The Kingdom will support these steps and anything agreed to by the Yemenis, including the location of the negotiations.”
“We are seeking for the Yemenis to meet and for them to draft solutions that benefit their people and security, restore the state and ensure the security of their neighbors,” he went on to say.
Saudi Arabia’s top priorities in Yemen are its security and stability, presence of a government that is in control of all of its territories, and barring the use of Yemen as a platform for attacking Saudi Arabia and threatening the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and region as a whole.