Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday it was ending a month-long campaign of air strikes against the Houthi rebels who seized large areas of Yemen and said it would back a political solution to bring peace to its war-ravaged neighbor.
Iran, which has supported the fellow Shi’ite Houthis, welcomed the ceasefire, which followed months of factional fighting between the militant group and forces loyal to the government, which was driven out of the capital Sanaa.
“Operation Decisive Storm has achieved its goals …(including) removing the threat to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, especially in terms of heavy weapons,” said a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA.
It said a new phase called “Operation Restoring Hope” was beginning. It would combine political, diplomatic and military action but would focus on “the political process that will lead to a stable and secure future for Yemen.”
Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said the alliance may still target Houthis. “The coalition will continue to prevent the Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen,” he told reporters in Riyadh.
The White House on Tuesday also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s announcement.
“The United States welcomes today’s announcement by the government of Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners of the conclusion of Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen,” said Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.