Saudi Delegates Visit Yemen for Talks with Houthis

The Oman-mediated peace talks to end the nine-year-old war in Yemen received a boost after China brokered a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia last month, Peoples Dispatch reports. 

Houthi leader Mahdi al-Mashat in 2022. (OmarAli12111, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Peoples Dispatch

The head of Yemen’s Houthi-led Supreme Political Council in Sana’a, Mahdi al-Mashat, met with a joint delegation of Saudi and Oman officials on Sunday to discuss ways to end the nine-year-old war in the country. 

The Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed al-Jaber hosted the delegation, which arrived on Saturday, reports Al-Mayadeen. The delegation later met with senior leader of the Houthi movement Mohammad Ali al-Houthi.

During his meeting with the delegation on Sunday, Al-Mashat affirmed Yemen’s “firm stance towards a just and honorable peace” and emphasized that Yemenis aspire to “freedom and independence,” Saba news agency reported.    

Al-Mayadeen reported that both sides discussed the possibility of a longer ceasefire, as well as issues related to the payment of salaries to government officials in Houthi-controlled regions of Yemen, payments from the sale of natural resources in areas controlled by Saudi-backed factions, an end to aggression and lifting of the Saudi blockade.

Saudi-backed factions control most of the oil producing regions in Yemen. The Houthis claim that salaries of government officials in the country should come from the revenue generated by selling the country’s natural resources.

They have also emphasized the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Yemen and lifting of the sea-and-air blockade imposed by the Saudis on Houthi-controlled regions for any lasting peace in the region.  

Taiz City, Yemen from AlQahirah Castle. (SharabSalam/ CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Following the Houthi takeover of capital Sana’a in September 2014, then Yemeni President Abdrabuh al-Mansur Hadi fled first to Aden and then to Riyadh. Saudi Arabia alleged that the Houthis were a proxy of Iran — a claim rejected both by the Houthis and Iran — and formed an international coalition to wage a war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to restore Hadi to power.

The war has claimed the lives of thousands of people and destroyed Yemen’s economy. The war and the blockade have also created a massive humanitarian crisis with millions displaced and over 80 percent of the country’s population dependent on aid for survival. The current talks indicate a greater possibility of peace and have raised hopes of the Yemeni people. 

Multiple Channels for Talks  

Hans Grundberg (on screens), U.N. special envoy to Yemen, briefing Security Council on July 11, 2022. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The Oman-mediated peace talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis have been ongoing for some time now, and have progressed due to the lack of any significant escalation in the conflict despite the official end of a U.N.-led ceasefire declaration in October last year. The Oman-led talks run parallel to the U.N.-led peace negotiations that are taking place in Geneva.  

The Omani peace efforts received a boost following an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran last month to restore their diplomatic relations after seven years. The rapprochement mediated by China has generated greater prospects for regional stability and peace. 

Speaking to the Associated Press, U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg welcomed the talks, pointing out that this is the closest opportunity since the beginning of the war in 2015 for the parties to progress towards a lasting peace.   

The AP also reported that Saudi Arabia and the Houthis had agreed on a draft of a ceasefire agreement last month, which also lays the plan for a more detailed negotiation. 

The draft agreement talks about lifting the Saudi blockade on the Sana’a international airport and the Hodeidah port in return for the Houthis withdrawing their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city. It also lays out a detailed plan for talks between the Houthis and Saudi-backed factions in the country.  

Saudi Arabia mediated a transition of power from Hadi to an eight-member presidential council last year in order to address the recurring clashes between forces loyal to Hadi and others opposed. According to AP, the presidential council has approved the draft ceasefire agreement with the Houthis. 

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

7 comments for “Saudi Delegates Visit Yemen for Talks with Houthis

  1. Rob
    April 11, 2023 at 13:09

    The ocean route of China’s Belt and Road Initiative passes from Nairobi, through the Bab al-Mandab strait, before heading to Europe.

    The Bab al-Mandab strait, next to Yemen, is a choke point on this route.

    Probably doesn’t mean anything.

  2. Valerie
    April 11, 2023 at 12:47

    Thankyou Dennis. Much appreciated. I’ll give it a bash. (That’s english for try btw.)

  3. rosemerry
    April 10, 2023 at 23:51

    The advanced, humanitarian, moralistic Western leaders of the USA France, UK have been providing the Saudis with arms for this war for years while the media have concentrated on the intricate details of every aspect of the “Russian war crimes” in a particular part of Europe to the exclusion of any mention or care for the millions in Yemen. Now we see China doing something practical in this disastrous situation.The USA still wants us to believe it should lead the world. The idea of peace breaking out causes it to panic.

  4. foster
    April 10, 2023 at 23:27

    Thank God,at last an end to this horror is in sight.

  5. jo6pac
    April 10, 2023 at 22:00

    Well it’s a great start and we hope that house of saud will work with others and not pay attention to Amerika or other demands. My fingers are crossed this works.

  6. Valerie
    April 10, 2023 at 15:35

    I understand the war was hampering efforts to avert an environmental disaster with the abandoned oil tanker off the coast of Yemen:

    “A supertanker has departed from China en route to the Yemeni coast to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from a decaying tanker that has sat there for years.”

    “The very large crude carrier (VLCC) set sail from Zhoushan, China, on Thursday as part of a United Nations coordinated operation to remove more than one million barrels of oil from the decaying FSO Safer supertanker off Yemen’s Red Sea coast that threatens a humanitarian, environmental, and economic catastrophe, the United Nations said in a statement.”

    So, two good happenings in Yemen.

    • April 11, 2023 at 04:09

      Valerie, on the April 7 article “Investors accelerate the U.S. housing crisis,” a reader offered a link to a short video the title of which you requested. Apparently, the comments closed before anyone could answer. The video’s title is “How I view the US after 12 years living abroad.”

      As for the link to it that you couldn’t activate, anytime you see an xx in a link, replace the xx with tt. The link provided for the video was
      hxxps:// so just replace the xx in hxxps with tt.

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