A London-based newspaper says Saudi Arabia has held direct secret talks with Yemen’s Houthis and agreed to more negotiations in the Jordanian capital.
The Rai al-Youm newspaper, edited by prominent Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, said on Tuesday that the two sides may hold their next negotiations in a week.
According to the paper, UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has informed the United Nations’ under-secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman of the talks in a secret letter. The daily says it has received a copy of the letter.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reportedly supervises the talks which have excluded Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Hadi has resigned as president but Saudi Arabia has been carrying out attacks on Yemen from the air, ground and sea for a year now to restore him to power.
The alleged negotiations suggest Riyadh’s submission to Houthi demands. The group had long maintained that any talks must be held with the Saudis as their main adversary in the war, and not with Hadi.
The kingdom is under growing pressure as its protracted war has ground into a no-win situation.
Last month, Saudi military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri acknowledged that the kingdom was stuck in a “static war” against its southern neighbor.
Riyadh is also coming under an unprecedented chorus of criticism from around the world over rising civilian casualties and destruction in Yemen.
Last week, the UN Security Council expressed worries about the worsening crisis in Yemen, saying it was considering a resolution to press for more aid deliveries and protect hospitals from attacks.
Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the UN was investigating Saudi Arabia’s use of banned munitions in Yemen, including cluster bombs.
Last month, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on EU member states to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia over high civilian casualties in Yemen.
Human rights groups have called for President Barack Obama to follow the EU parliament’s lead and impose an arms embargo on the kingdom.
At least 8,400 people, among them 2,236 children, have been killed so far and 16,015 others injured. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.
By Press TV