Saudi Omani Envoys Hold Peace Talks with Houthi Leaders in Yemen :In an effort to end Yemen’s nine-year conflict, Saudi and Omani delegations met with Houthi representatives in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, according to Houthi-run media. The visit shows development in the negotiations between Riyadh and Sanaa, which are mediated by Oman and take place concurrently with UN peace efforts. Since Saudi Arabia and Iran’s bitter adversaries decided to mend fences in a pact mediated by China, negotiations have also picked up steam.
According to Houthi official agency SABA, the envoys, who arrived late on Saturday, met with Mahdi al-Mashat, the head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, to discuss putting an end to hostilities and easing a Saudi-led “blockade” on Yemeni ports. SABA said that President Mashat repeated his movement’s goals of a “honorable peace” and “liberation and independence” for Yemen.
An previous tweet from the head of the Houthis, Mohammed al-Bukaiti, stated that Saudi and Omani officials will talk about “means to create a comprehensive and permanent peace in the area.” It would be “a success for all parties,” he added, if the Houthis and Saudi Arabia could come to an honorable settlement. To “preserve a peaceful atmosphere and prepare to turn the page of the past,” he urged all parties to take action.
The Saudi and Omani negotiations in Sanaa, according to UN ambassador for Yemen Hans Grundberg, are “the closest Yemen has come to actual progress towards sustainable peace” since the conflict started.”This is a time to be grasped and built on and a real potential to establish an inclusive political process under UN auspices,” he told The Associated Press news agency. to sustainably end the conflict.” Saudi Arabia had no quick comments.
The political picture in Yemen is complicated, and discussions may take a long time, according to Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, who is reporting from the capital of Qatar, Doha. The UN has been working to bring all sides together to seek a political settlement for a while, he added. The sides acknowledge that it will be very challenging to resolve all of their disagreements, he continued.
Content of the talks
According to sources, the Saudi-Houthi negotiations are concentrated on the full reopening of ports and the airport in Sanaa that are under their control, the payment of public employees’ paychecks, reconstruction activities, and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces. According to Abdulghani al-Iryani of the Sanaa Institute for Strategic Research, combat tiredness is evidently a problem on all sides of the fight.
He told Al Jazeera from Amman, “Houthis are content talking to Saudis in the absence of other Yemeni groups, and that is quite a danger. Iryani asserted that several armed factions now have authority over Yemen and certain money sources, adding that productive conversations required a basic level of agreement on how the country would look after the conflict.
The conflict in Yemen is one of several proxy conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In late 2014, the Houthis, who are allied with Iran, overthrew a government supported by Saudi Arabia in Sanaa and now effectively rule northern Yemen. Since 2015, they have been engaged in combat with a Saudi-led military coalition, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties and the need for humanitarian help for 80% of Yemen’s people.
Prior to a larger prisoner exchange agreed upon by the warring parties, a Houthi spokesman claimed on Saturday that the organization had received 13 prisoners released by Saudi Arabia in exchange for a Saudi inmate freed earlier. The Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels decided to release 887 prisoners during discussions held in Switzerland last month in the presence of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to Abdul Qader al-Mortada, a Houthi spokesman, the 13 inmates are a part of that arrangement.