Saudi Arabia invites Houthi officials to Riyadh for ceasefire talks


The flags of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

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Saudi Arabia invited a delegation from Yemen’s Sanaa as an extension of the Saudi initiative announced in March 2021, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported early on Friday.

The Kingdom wanted to resume its and Oman’s efforts to “reach a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen and a sustainable political solution acceptable to all Yemeni parties,” SPA added.

The Houthi delegation is expected to arrive in Riyadh for ceasefire talks.

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Houthi and Omani envoys headed to Saudi Arabia to try to negotiate a permanent ceasefire with Saudi officials to end the war in Yemen, two people involved in the talks said earlier on Thursday.

The trip will be the first official visit by Houthi officials to the Kingdom since the war broke out in Yemen in 2014, after the Iran-backed group ousted the government in Sanaa.

The first round of the Oman-mediated consultations between Riyadh and Sanaa, which are running in parallel to UN peace efforts, was held in April when Saudi envoys visited Sanaa.

The conflict in Yemen has killed hundreds of thousands and left 80 percent of Yemen’s population dependent on humanitarian aid.

Sources speaking on condition of anonymity have told Reuters that the Saudi-Houthi talks are focused on a full reopening of Houthi-controlled ports and Sanaa airport, payment of wages for public servants from oil revenues, rebuilding efforts, and a timeline for foreign forces to quit Yemen.

The peace initiatives have gained momentum since arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to re-establish ties in a deal brokered by China. A permanent ceasefire in Yemen would mark a milestone in stabilizing the Middle East.

With ALARABIYA and Reuters

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