Saudi officials announced Tuesday that their U.S.-backed, Sunni coalition is implementing the next phase of its plan to restore Yemen’s recognized president to power.
A senior Houthi leader announced that a political agreement is being finalized with other parties after the Saudi-led military engagement, codenamed Operation Decisive Storm, ended Tuesday.
“We were expecting there to be an agreement on a ceasefire after the signing of a political accord, on which an agreement is almost ready,” Abdel Malek al-Ijiri, a spokesman for the Houthis, told Reuters.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forcibly removed from power by the Houthis, thanked the Saudi-led coalition for intervening on his government’s behalf.
“I extend on my behalf and on behalf of the Yemeni people sincere thanks and appreciation for the Arab and Muslim brothers and our partners in the coalition for supporting legitimacy,” President Hadi said from exile in Saudi Arabia.
Although “Operation Decisive Storm” is officially over, the Saudis have announced that “Operation Restoring Hope” will commence on Wednesday. A Saudi Ministry of Defense spokesman told reporters that Decisive Storm ended the major military component of the campaign to support Sunni leadership in Yemen. Operation Restoring Hope “aims to protect civilians and to continue to fight terrorism in Yemen,” Saudi-run Al Arabiya reported.
“The coalition will continue to prevent the movement of Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen,” Saudi General Ahmed Asiri told the media. Asiri made clear “we are not talking about a ceasefire,” and mentioned that the new operation does have both military and political elements.
The Iranian regime, which backs the Houthi militants in Yemen, welcomed the news that Operation Decisive Storm was over.