xi's moments
Home | Middle East

Saudi-Houthi talks spark Yemeni hopes

Updated: 2023-04-11 07:54

Mahdi al-Mashat (left), head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, shakes hands with Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber at the Republican Palace in Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday, when Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Houthi militia engaged in direct talks aimed at reviving a cease-fire. [Photo/Agencies]

Meeting seen as step forward in efforts to revive cease-fire in war-torn nation

ADEN, Yemen — Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Houthi militia on Sunday engaged in direct talks aimed at reviving a cease-fire in the war-torn nation, as part of international efforts to find a settlement to Yemen's nine-year conflict.

Saudi Arabia's delegation, chaired by the kingdom's ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, met with Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi's supreme political council, which runs rebel-held areas in Yemen, according to the Houthi-run SABA news agency.

An Omani delegation, which arrived in Sanaa on Saturday, joined the talks, the agency reported. It said al-Mashat hailed Oman's efforts to bridge the gap between different sides of the war to achieve peace in Yemen. SABA did not give further details.

Mohammed al-Bukaiti, a Houthi leader, said on Twitter that achieving an honorable peace between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia would be "a triumph for both parties" and urged all sides to take steps to "preserve a peaceful atmosphere and prepare to turn the page of the past".

Officials from both sides spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door negotiations.

They said the Saudi-Houthi understandings include a six-month truce with a cessation of all military activities across Yemen. The Houthis have committed to coming to the table with other Yemeni parties to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict, they said. The United Nations is meant to facilitate the political negotiations, they added.

Both parties also agreed to further ease restrictions by the Saudiled coalition on Sanaa's airport and the Houthi-controlled Red Sea ports in Al Hudaydah, the officials said. The Houthis would lift their yearslong blockade on Taiz, Yemen's third largest city which is held by government forces, they said.

There was no immediate official comment from Saudi Arabia on the trip, the second of its kind in 2023.

The visit indicates progress in the Oman-mediated consultations between Riyadh and Sanaa, which run parallel to the UN peace efforts. The peace initiatives have gained momentum after Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to reestablish ties in a deal brokered by China.

Oman, which shares borders with Yemen, has been trying for years to bridge differences between Yemen's warring parties.

In comments to The Associated Press, Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy for Yemen, described the ongoing efforts, including the Saudi and Omani talks in Sanaa, as "the closest Yemen has been to real progress toward a lasting peace" since the war began.

"This is a moment to be seized and built on and a real opportunity to start an inclusive political process under UN auspices to sustainably end the conflict," he said.

1 2 Next   >>|
Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349