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Houthis announce end of truce, threaten oil companies in region

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The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen announced Saturday that attempts to reach an understanding during a six-month ceasefire with Saudi Arabia that expires Sunday had reached a "dead end."


The truce was reached in April between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen and extended twice since.


Since the ceasefire was reached, it has been broken multiple times by both sides.

The Houthis stated on Saturday that they had "exercised restraint" to ceasefire violations and delays in an effort to reach a peace agreement, but stressed that they did not "feel any seriousness" in the efforts to address humanitarian issues.


"Unfortunately, it became clear that the aggression countries, after they had exhausted all their cards, had no choice but to target the livelihood of the Yemeni people as the easiest way to bring the people to their knees and use it as a military tactic and a war tool to pressure them," said the Houthis' negotiating delegation.

"It became clear that their desire is not peace as much as it is to keep the countries of aggression away from the repercussions of the war and direct targeting and besiege them inside Yemen, and to transfer the war to the economic field, and the continuation of their siege and the imposition of unjust restrictions on the Yemeni people to prevent access to their legal and humanitarian entitlements."


"We affirm the right of our Yemeni people to defend themselves and their rights and to confront aggression and siege, and we hold the countries of aggression responsible for reaching understandings to a dead end as a result of their intransigence and disavowal measures that have no aim other than to alleviate the human suffering of our dear Yemeni people."


The Houthi's military warned shipping companies headed for countries in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to follow warnings they plan to issue once the truce ends on Sunday.

The Houthi-affiliated Al-Masirah television reported on Saturday night that all foreign and local companies operating in areas of Yemen not controlled by the Houthis would be demanded to stop operating, saying that these companies were "tampering with the wealth of the Yemeni people and looting their capabilities."


The movement also demanded that all oil companies operating in Yemen stop extracting oil for export abroad starting on Sunday.


"We will take all strict measures to prevent the continuation of looting of Yemeni sovereign wealth in accordance with international laws," said the Houthi oil minister. "The coalition of aggression and mercenaries looted the  country’s wealth, and they should take the warning of the armed forces seriously."


On Sunday evening, the spokesman for the Houthis' military branch, Yahya Sare'e, warned oil companies working in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to leave, stating that "our armed forces are able, with God’s help, to deprive the Saudis and Emiratis of their resources if they insist on depriving our Yemeni people of their resources."


Meanwhile the movement's Supreme Political Council warned that they would "not stand idly by if the aggression and siege continue" and that they would target airports, ports and oil companies in countries that are members of the Saudi-led coalition.


UN calls for Saudis, Houthis to 'choose peace'

On Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Houthis and Saudi coalition to "choose peace for good" and urged them to expand the truce's terms and duration.


“This is the moment to build on the gains achieved and embark on a path towards the resumption of an inclusive and comprehensive political process, to reach a negotiated settlement to end the conflict. The United Nations will spare no efforts to support the parties in this endeavor.”

On Thursday, US Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking stated that it was "up to the Houthis" to cooperate and expand the benefits of the truce during a conference at the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies.