Saudi Arabia intensifying talks with Yemen’s Houthis: Sources

Tasnim – Saudi Arabia is intensifying informal talks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement to reach a ceasefire agreement in Yemen, sources familiar with the discussions said.

The talks were launched in Jordan in late September, three of the sources said, with Riyadh taking sole responsibility for military efforts by the Arab alliance waging war in Yemen after the exit of its main partner, the United Arab Emirates.

The discussions began after the Houthis offered to halt retaliatory missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities if the Saudi-led coalition ended its airstrikes on Yemen, they said.

A fourth source said “discussions on finalizing the security pact are moving very quickly now through a number of channels” but that Riyadh still had concerns about its border security.

“We have had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016. We are continuing these communications to support peace in Yemen,” a Saudi official said.

A Houthi official, who declined to be named, confirmed the group was discussing a broad ceasefire with Riyadh but cautioned that the group’s patience was “wearing thin”.

The United Nations also hopes to restart negotiations between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and the Houthis to end the ongoing Saudi-led war on the impoverished Arab country. The UN’s Yemen special envoy has said he hopes for a resolution to the conflict in the first few months of 2020.