A Saudi delegation has arrived in the Yemeni city of Sanaa to negotiate with the Houthis, as multiple reports have indicated a peace deal between the warring sides is near.
Omani officials also arrived in Sanaa this weekend as Muskat has been brokering talks between the Saudis and Houthis. According to Houthis media, the head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, will meet with the Saudi and Omani envoys to discuss ending hostilities and lifting the blockade.
The Houthis main demands for a peace deal have been a complete lifting of the blockade that the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has imposed on Yemen since 2015. They also want government salaries to be paid using revenue from Yemeni oil and gas exports. Sources told Reuters that the Saudi-Houthi talks will focus on fulfilling these conditions.
The Saudis and the Houthis reached a ceasefire agreement last year that lasted from April 2022 until October 2022. While the ceasefire is technically expired, there have still been no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen or Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia.
A source from the Saudi-backed Yemeni government told AFP on Saturday that the Saudis and Houthis have agreed in principle on a six-month truce to pave the way for three months of talks on establishing a two-year “transition” that would lead to a permanent settlement. Other media reports have said a deal should be reached soon, including one from Al Mayadeen, which said the Saudis will announce an end to the war.
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.