Yemen Peace Talks Fail After Saudis Prevent Houthi Leader From Attending

Houthi: Only condition was to be able to arrive safely in Geneva

Last week’s Yemen peace talks in Geneva formally collapsed over the weekend, after the Houthi movement’s delegation never showed up. The group’s leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, has said the Saudis prevent he and the delegation from traveling to Geneva.

Specifics aren’t entirely clear after three days of delays, but al-Houthi says his only condition had been the ability to arrive “safely in Geneva.” Previous reports suggested that the Houthis were also seeking an assurance that they would be allowed to travel safely back to Yemen after the talks were finished.

This was a concern because a previous Houthi delegation ended up stranded in Djibouti for months on end. The Saudis insisted the plane be prevented from returning to Yemen until it could be “searched,” and that searching mostly involved holding the plane in a warehouse for months on end.

Saudi officials claimed the lack of Houthi attendance proved they weren’t serious about the talks, while the Houthis said that the Saudis failed to allow them to attend. This has often been how Yemen talks end, with both sides setting the stage for trading blame for the failure.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of