Saudi officials visit Yemen’s capital for talks with rebels
By Dana Alblooshi, News Reporter, The Pawprint
Saudi officials held talks with Houthi rebels in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, with the aim of finding a settlement to Yemen’s nine-year conflict. An Omani delegation also joined the talks. The meetings are part of international efforts led by Oman to settle the conflict.
Last month, Saudi Arabia and the Houthis reached a draft deal to revive a ceasefire and begin political talks to end the conflict. The Saudi-Houthi understandings include a six-month truce with a cessation of all military activities across Yemen, with the Houthis committed to negotiating a political settlement with other Yemeni parties.
Ahmed Nagi, a Yemen expert at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank, said the Iran-Saudi Arabia rapprochement has given a boost to Saudi-Houthi negotiations, and that both sides are close to announcing the cease-fire’s renewal.
However, the second track of the Houthi-Saudi negotiations — a potential roadmap to reach a permanent settlement to the conflict — would be a major challenge when discussed by Yemeni parties, he stated;
“Each party has different interpretations and expectations,” he said. “Given the complexities of the situation, it is hard to see progress on this track very soon.”
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