Warring parties in Yemen could soon sign a deal to renew a ceasefire that would last until the end of 2023, The New Arab reported Thursday.
A ceasefire that took effect in April 2022 expired last October. While there has been an uptick in fighting on the ground, there have still been no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen since March 2022 and no Houthi missile and drone attacks inside Saudi Arabia.
Sources told The New Arab’s Arabic language sister site that the hopes for a new truce come after Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman met with members of the presidential council that represents the Saudi-backed government in Yemen.
A deal to extend the ceasefire could include the Saudis allowing more flights from the Sanaa airport, the resumption of oil exports, and the opening of roads the Houthis have blocked in Taiz. But the sources said some Houthi demands might not be fulfilled.
The Houthis have long called for a complete lifting of the blockade on Yemen as a precondition for a settlement. One of their main demands now is for government employees living in Houthi-controlled areas to be paid their salaries using revenue from Yemeni oil and gas sales.
The UN’s special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said last month that he saw renewed momentum for a peace deal in Yemen following the Iran-Saudi normalization deal. While Iran isn’t nearly as involved in the Yemen war as the Saudis are, the renewed engagement between Tehran and Riyadh is expected to bring more stability to the region. Since the rapprochement with Iran, the Saudis have also taken steps toward normalizing with Syria.
March 25 marked the eighth anniversary of the US-backed Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. Since then, at least 377,000 people have been killed in the war. More than half died due to starvation and disease that was caused by the blockade and the coalition’s brutal bombing campaign.