Saudi coalition airstrikes have halted for a few hours now based on reports coming from Aden.
The news was announced during a press conference by the coalition spokesman. He said the goals of the intervention in the civil war had been achieved. The coalition’s focus will now be on a negotiated political settlement.
Operation Decisive Storm succeeded in eliminating threats to the kingdom and other countries in the region, by destroying heavy weapons and ballistic missiles held by the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to a statement by the mostly Sunni Muslim coalition read out on Saudi state television.
A new operation will seek to protect civilians, distribute aid and restart political talks, Ahmed Asseri, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, told reporters at a televised press conference. He said that may also include the use of force, though on a smaller scale than the past four weeks of bombing. The coalition will “stand against military movements and actions by the Houthi militia and its allies,” according to the statement.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and its mostly Sunni Muslim allies in the coalition have been seeking to roll back gains by the Houthis. The intervention has escalated a conflict in a country located among major oilfields and adjacent to key shipping routes.
Oil prices extended declines after the Saudi announcement. Brent crude dropped 2.5 percent to $61.88 per barrel at 2:30 p.m. in New York. It had risen more than $6 a barrel since the start of the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen in late March.
The Saudis accuse the rebels of being tools of Iran, a claim viewed skeptically by Western diplomats. In the past year the rebels have advanced from their northern base to occupy the capital, Sana’a, and then push Saudi-backed President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi from his remaining stronghold in the southern port of Aden. He fled to Saudi Arabia.
Ambassadors of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday that the Saudi-led coalition’s military activities won’t be ending anytime soon, according to a UN official who asked not to be identified commenting on private diplomatic conversations.
In Aden, where there had been fierce fighting between Hadi’s local allies and pro-Houthi forces, there have been no airstrikes for about two hours, though fighter jets can still be heard hovering overhead, Saleh Salem, a local resident, said by phone.
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