"[Mohammed] Bin Salman's optimism about stopping the war is positive," says Mohamed Ali al Houthi, a member of the group's political council, a day after Saudi crown prince voiced hope for reaching a political solution to conflict.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa, followed by Saudi-led military intervention.
Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa, followed by Saudi-led military intervention. (AA)

Yemen's Houthi rebel group on Tuesday welcomed remarks by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he voiced hope for reaching a political solution to the five-year conflict in Yemen.

"Bin Salman's optimism about stopping the war is positive," Mohamed Ali al Houthi, a member of the group's political council, said in statements cited by the Houthi-run Saba news agency.

"Turning the discussion into negotiations requires [Saudis] to show seriousness and to deal in a realistic way without any dictations," he said.

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, bin Salman said Saudi Arabia was open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.

"First, if Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, the political solution will be much easier. Today, we are open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen. We hope this happens today rather than tomorrow," he said.

UN envoy in Sanaa

Meanwhile, UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday for talks with Houthi leaders on ways to reach a truce with Saudi Arabia.

A source in the UN envoy's office told Anadolu Agency that Griffiths will discuss with Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi and other members the prospects for calm between the rebel group and Saudi Arabia.

Houthis unilaterally release hundreds 

On Monday, the Iran-aligned rebels released hundreds of prisoners, including three Saudi Arabians, under the supervision of the UN as part of a peace initiative. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which facilitated the release, said 290 Yemeni nationals were transferred from the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa to their homes.

Houthis agreed in Sweden in December with Yemen's Saudi-backed government to swap prisoners as a confidence-building step. But the arrangement has been stalled as the sides struggled to agree on implementation.

Each side was meant to release around 7,000 prisoners.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country's pro-Saudi government.

Source: AA