Sunday October 01, 2023

Yemen rebels return from ‘positive’ Saudi peace talks: official

September 20, 2023

SANAA: A delegation of Yemen´s Iran-backed Huthi rebels returned on Tuesday to Sanaa after five days of talks in Saudi Arabia, media and officials said, without yet reporting any progress towards ending their eight-year war.

The Huthi representatives had arrived in Riyadh on Thursday for their first public visit since a Saudi-led coalition in 2015 launched a military intervention in Yemen to prop up the internationally recognised government.

The delegation along with an Omani mediator “returned to the capital Sanaa after five days of negotiations in Riyadh”, the Huthis´ TV channel Al-Masirah reported.

The Gulf sultanate of Oman has regularly been involved in mediation efforts. Several Yemeni officials and diplomats, all requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media, also confirmed the return of the Huthi delegation.

There was no official comment from Saudi Arabia. Ali al-Qhoom, a member of the Huthis´ political council, said “there will be a new round of negotiations” but made no mention of any concrete achievements out of Riyadh in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The talks were “serious and positive”, Qhoom said, expressing optimism that outstanding issues would be resolved. Yemen was plunged into conflict when the Huthis took control of the capital in September 2014, ousting the internationally recognised government and prompting the Saudi-led coalition to launch their offensive the following March. The Riyadh trip, five months after the rebels hosted a Saudi team in Sanaa, is the latest hopeful sign for a war that has created one of the world´s worst humanitarian crises. Yemen´s fighting has left hundreds of thousands dead and forced millions from their homes, leaving three-quarters of the population dependent on aid.