Progress has been reported in the Oman-brokered Saudi-Houthi peace talks that are ongoing in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, as a ceasefire agreement is expected to be reached soon.
The Saudis envoy to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed al-Jaber, is leading the delegation in Sanaa. He arrived in the city on Saturday, as did Omani officials who are mediating the talks.
On Monday, al-Jaber said on Twitter that he was visiting Sanaa “with the aim of stabilizing the ceasefire, supporting the prisoner exchange process and discussing ways of dialogue between the Yemeni components to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution in Yemen.”
Moammar al-Eryani, the information minister for the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, welcomed the talks and wrote on Twitter that the “atmosphere is more ready than ever to achieve peace.”
Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, said Tuesday that he was encouraged by the “depth and seriousness” of the engagement between the Houthis and Saudis. While the UN isn’t involved in the current negotiations, it expects to be involved in negotiations toward a permanent political settlement.
The Houthis and Saudis are expected to agree on an extension of a ceasefire that was enacted last year, from April 2022 to October 2022. While the truce technically expired, there have been no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen or Houthis attacks inside Saudi Arabia for over a year. After a ceasefire is agreed upon, the warring sides are expected to begin discussions toward a permanent settlement.
The initial ceasefire deal will include a full lifting of the blockade on Yemen that has been enforced by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, which will bring much-needed relief to the people of Yemen. Since the coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 with full US support, 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.