Saudi warplanes continued pounding Yemen again, as the Geneva peace talks get underway today. The UN is shooting for a two-week ceasefire for the start of Ramadan would allow large amounts of aid into the increasingly desperate country, struggling under a Saudi-led naval blockade.
The early news out of Geneva isn’t looking good, however, with the Saudi-backed “exile government” saying they were willing to discuss a “limited” ceasefire, but only if the Houthis agree to surrender every major city in the country as a condition of the talks.
The Houthis have been pushing for an unconditional ceasefire, and have been keen on restarting transitional talks, which effective crumbled in January with the resignation of President Hadi, whose forces the Saudis are trying to reinstall militarily. The Hadi remnants don’t appear keen to talk transition, however, at least not from their current, weak position.
While the first offer is obviously going to be rejected, the fact that the two sides both entered the talks at all shows a tacit recognition that a military victory simply isn’t going to happen and that eventually they’re going to have to come to terms.
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