Saudis in Secret Peace Talks With Yemen’s Houthis

Senior Houthi confirms talks have been going on for two months

Publicly, Saudi Arabia has shown no sign of looking for a negotiated end to the war in Yemen. Behind the scenes, however, they’ve been in secret talks with the Shi’ite Houthis for the past two months.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam

Three years into the Saudi invasion, signs are that there is some war weariness, and that they’ve been making secretive approaches to the Houthis, by way of neighboring Oman, for the past two months. Diplomats say the Houthis are eager for a diplomatic agreement.

One senior Houthi confirmed that the talks have been underway, with spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam repeatedly traveling to Oman for meetings with Saudi officials, and trying to carve out a “comprehensive political solution.”

There is no detail being offered in any of the reports about how far the talks have progressed, but a number of different issues are said to be up for debate. The Houthis have long suggested they were willing to accept a power-sharing deal, and previous discussion of that tended to get derailed by the pro-Saudi forces in Yemen, who are still insisting that they end up in total control.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.