ABU DHABI (Dispatches) – The UAE has backed off from its stance on Yemen's Houthi Ansrullah, saying the movement will have a role in their country's future.
The comments by Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs in the United Arab Emirates were the latest conciliatory move in the long-running Yemen conflict.
He urged all sides to maintain momentum for a political solution.
"Such an agreement must take account of the legitimate aspirations of all parts of Yemeni society. That includes the Houthis," Gargash said at a political conference in Abu Dhabi.
"Houthi militias have wreaked havoc on the country, but they are a part of Yemeni society and they will have a role in its future."
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, including the UAE, launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement on Saturday warned Saudi Arabia to end its military campaign against the impoverished country or face the grave consequences.
"I call on the Saudi regime to stop the aggression and siege, otherwise the risks of continuing the aggression are great and the results will be severe for them,” Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in a speech broadcast live.
He said Yemeni forces will continue to develop their military hardware and launch much harsher retaliatory attacks in case the Saudi aggression continues.
"Those who are seeking war and blockade and hoping to bring us to our knees are doing a useless job, and nothing but damage and harm awaits them,” Houthi said.
"The aggressive Saudis must end blockade of Yemen. We understand the level of suffering that Yemeni people are enduring as a result of the blockade,” he said as he called on the Yemeni nation to stay resilient.
Houthi also pointed to the theft of Yemen’s national resources by the Saudi-led coalition, saying more than 120 million barrels of crude oil have been looted in southern Yemeni areas occupied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.