SANAA — Yemeni Shiite rebels pledged on Tuesday not to attack neighbouring Saudi Arabia, a key condition laid down by the Sanaa government to end its nearly-six-month military campaign against them.
"As long as no one attacks us, we would not target any party," the office of rebel leader Abdul Malak al-Huthi said in a statement posted on the rebels' website.
It said the rebels, known also as Huthis, had already made this position clear last week when they announced a "withdrawal from Saudi territory and ending the war."
The issue of captured Saudis would not be a "hurdle," it said, adding that "if there is a willingness to have peace, this issue can be solved through an exchange of prisoners."
The rebel leader offered on Saturday to accept the government's five-point truce terms, as long as the government halts military attacks.
But the government rejected the offer, pointing to a sixth condition stipulating a Huthi pledge not to attack Saudi Arabia.
The demand was apparently added after the northern rebels started to lock horns with Riyadh in early November.
Saudi Arabia, in its largest military mobilisation since the 1991 Gulf War, deployed reinforcements on its border with Yemen after accusing the Huthis of killing a border guard and occupying two small villages.
The rebels last week announced their withdrawal from the last positions they occupied in Saudi Arabia, which in turn said they had been chased out of its territory.
"We have offered all that we can to stop the bloodshed ... The party that is playing with words, finding excuses and setting up more hurdles in order to keep the war raging should be held responsible," Tuesday's statement said.
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