The Yemeni ceasefire committee in charge of overseeing the implementation of the truce reached last Thursday (February 11th) between the Houthi rebels and the government, continued to clear mines and remove road blocks in an effort to achieve security, stability and peace in the northern province of Saada.
The committee was assigned by the parliament and the Shura council to supervise the ceasefire and the implementation of the government's six conditions.
Yemeni lawmaker and member of the ceasefire committee Abdallah Al-Maqtari told Al-Shorfa in an exclusive interview that "the roads from Haradh to Al-Malahith and Razeh were reopened and the hideouts in the mountains were also cleared with the presence of Houthi representatives in these committees," he said, adding that the implementation of the six points was sluggish.
The six points announced by the Yemeni president last Thursday and agreed to by the Houthis include: reopening roads, clearing land mines, clearing the diggings in positions and road-sides; the withdrawal from the directorates and refraining from interfering in the affairs of the local authority; returning civilian and military equipment pillaged from Yemen and Saudi Arabia; releasing the detainees from the Yemeni and Saudi military and civilians; abiding by the constitution, law and order; and pledging not to attack Saudi Arabia.
Al-Maqtari said that what happened so far was "a positive [development] in ending the suffering of the people and the bloodshed. The implementation of the six points relies on the credibility of both parties."
About the deployment of the army on the Yemeni-Saudi border, he said, "When the committees conclude clearing the mines, the army will be able to deploy on the borders."
"The Houthi representatives did not object to implementing this condition after the rebels are out of their hideouts and the land-mine clearance is over, so that the army can carry out its duties in the desired way without causing any injuries," he added.
The Houthi rebels announced in a statement published on the Internet the re-opening of the main roads and the clearance of trenches and hideouts, including the main roads that link Saada with the capital Sanaa through Harf Sufian in the neighboring province of Imran.
Two other main roads were reopened, the first connecting Saada to the neighbouring province of Al-Jawf, and the second connecting the province to the Saudi border area through Al-Malahith directorate.
On Monday, the first Saudi captive, out of five Saudi soldiers held by the Houthis, was handed over to the Saada committee. The gesture aimed at proving the Houthis' good will to ease the atmosphere, so that the Saudis can start releasing the Houthi detainees on their end, said the Houthi spokesperson in a statement to news agencies.
Meanwhile, seven people were killed on February 15th, including two soldiers and three Houthi rebels, from a blast caused by a landmine remaining from the war between the rebels and the Yemeni government. An anti-armour mine placed under a damaged mine sweeper exploded after army soldiers and a group of Yemeni citizens were trying to clear the area in Al-Oqab district in Saada.
Dr. Abdul-Wahab Mahmoud, the General Secretary of al-Ba'ath Party in Yemen and Chairman of the Higher Council of Joint Meeting Parties (opposition coalition), said in an interview with Al-Shorfa that "the ceasefire came into effect according to the terms agreed upon by both sides to end the war and restore matters to how they were before the breakout of the war, and this includes the reconstruction of what was destroyed during the conflict".
Abd al-Hamid added that the presence of some members of the parliament and the Shura council affiliated with the opposition parties – even though they represent themselves only, and not their parties - on the ceasefire committees, will accelerate the implementation of the six conditions.
"We, at the Joint Meeting coalition blessed this step and ended the fight because the losses in life come from the Yemenis, whether they were from the army, the Houthis or the civilian population, in addition to the material losses that should have been dedicated to the development process," he said.
Abd Al-Hamid added that "the eradication and handling of the reasons that led to the [previous] six wars [between the Yemeni government and the Houthis] will be the only guarantee to prevent the breakout of a new war. It will also prevent this agreement from becoming merely a fighter's rest."
He called on all parties to work on clearing the roots of the problem since Yemenis serve as fuel for these wars, whether on a material or human level.
Dr. Mohammed Qubati, head of the Foreign Relations and International Cooperation Office of the ruling General People's Congress Party, told Al-Shorfa, "There is an ascending line in the pace of implementation of the six points to end the war in Saada."
"Over the past few days, the field committees have been working well with the Houthi delegates," he said. "The complete commitment to the timetable is not necessary as long as the work continues until the process takes the necessary time to achieve its objectives and implement the six points to end the war that displaced a quarter million Yemenis."