Yemeni Shiite rebels are ready to withdraw from Saudi territory in exchange for an end to cross-border attacks by the Saudi military, a rebel spokesman told AFP on Wednesday. "We are prepared to withdraw from sites if... Saudi Arabia does not attack any one of us from its territory," said the spokesman, Mohammed Abdel Salam.
On Tuesday, Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan gave the Shiite rebels 24 hours to withdraw from the border village of Al-Jabiri which they are occupying. "They have 24 hours to surrender, or we will destroy them," he stated. The rebels dismissed the ultimatum in a statement on their website late on Tuesday.
The rebels' spokesman said their key complaint against Riyadh was its decision to allow the Yemeni army to use its territory against their positions. "We believe that the essence of the problem with Saudi Arabia is not land or borders, for we faced Yemeni aggression from Saudi Arabia," Salam said. "We entered Saudi territory in response to Saudi aggression against Yemen, by its air force and through ground attacks in Saada (province)," he added. "All we ask for is good neighbourly relations."