Houthi rebels say they are ready to engage in a “public dialogue” with the Saudi-led coalition to end the 5-year conflict in Yemen.

“We are ready for public dialogue with the aggression countries to reach a cease-fire and lift the 5-year siege on Yemen,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in an interview with the BBC to be published on Sunday.

He said current contacts with the coalition did not yet mount to the level of negotiations.

“We are ready to go to Riyadh provided that a public dialogue is held that will result in a comprehensive cease-fire in the country,” al-Houthi said.

There was no comment from the Saudi-led coalition on the statements.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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