Sunday, December 3, 2023

Yemen’s Huthis voice optimism about peace negotiations with Saudis, Riyadh hails talks

Yemen's Ansarullah, aka Huthis, has expressed optimism about the quality of earlier talks in Saudi Arabia on the potential of putting an end to a war that Riyadh and its allies have been waging against the Arab country since 2015. The Kingdom has also welcomed the “positive results” of talks with the Yemeni delegation.

“Negotiations with Saudi Arabia were serious and positive,” Ali al-Qhoom, a member of Ansarullah’s Political Bureau, was quoted by Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network on Tuesday as saying.

“There existed optimism regarding elimination of [standing] obstacles and complications concerning the humanitarian files,” he added.

Qhoom’s comments came following five days of Omani-mediated negotiations between a visiting Ansarullah delegation with Saudi officials in the kingdom’s capital of Riyadh.

The Yemeni delegation has now returned to the Yemeni capital of Sana’a for consultations with the leaders of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council.

According to Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the council, the Yemeni delegation would revisit Riyadh for “completion” of consultations with the Saudi party.

Two sources said some progress has been made on some of the main sticking points between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, including a timeline for foreign troops exiting Yemen and a mechanism for paying public wages, , adding that the sides would meet for more talks after consultations “soon”.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry has also supported a political solution to the Yemen conflict in a statement released on Wednesday.

The ministry said it welcomed “the positive results of the serious discussions regarding reaching a road map to support the peace path in Yemen.”

Riyadh, it added, “continues to stand with Yemen and its brotherly people and … encourages the Yemeni parties to sit at the negotiating table to reach a comprehensive and lasting political solution … under the supervision of the United Nations.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, began the war in March 2015 to restore power in Yemen to the impoverished country’s Western- and Riyadh-allied government.

The former Yemeni government’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, resigned from the presidency in late 2014 and later fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict with Ansarullah. The movement has been running Yemen’s affairs in the absence of a functioning administration.

The war and a concomitant siege that the Saudi-led coalition has been imposing on Yemen has, meanwhile, caused the death of tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the site of, what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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