Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin today denied reports that his “government-in-exile” is engaged in negotiations on ending the Saudi war against the Shi’ite Houthis, saying that not only were there no such meetings, but that they would never negotiate with the Houthis.
Yassin went on to insist that his group still demands that the Houthis and all other rival factions unconditionally submit to a UN Resolution which demands that they unilaterally disarm and surrender all territory to his faction before any discussion of future political participation is possible.
Needless to say, the Houthis are not likely to unconditionally surrender to the pro-Saudi faction after months of airstrikes, though they have offered to negotiate on a settlement for a future government. The reports on the talks suggested Oman, which has tried to help with a settlement in the past, was hosting the talks.
Yassin’s comments aren’t unique among the pro-Saudi faction, with other officials predicting a full-scale military victory across Yemen in a matter of days, and even those who aren’t quite that optimistic believe that they can settle the conflict militarily and get their government, which resigned in January, reinstalled by Saudi force of arms.
The “government-in-exile” almost certainly does not want to agree to any deal that leads to an election, as their leader, former President Hadi, was installed in a single-candidate vote, and is not seen as particularly politically popular, a fact no doubt worsened by the huge civilian toll in the airstrikes trying to reinstall him.