Saudi officials visited Yemen’s capital to hold peace talks. It is hoped that this could bring an end to the country’s eight-year conflict.
They traveled to Sanaa, capital of Houthi to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement with them to end the country’s civil war.
While a Saudi-led coalition supports Yemen’s government, Houthi rebels have been backed by Iran. The country has effectively been the scene of a proxy conflict.
According to UN estimates, the conflict has claimed more than 150,000 lives, including civilians and fighters. It also created one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, with 80% Yemen’s population dependent upon humanitarian aid.
According to the Houthi-run news agency Saba, the delegation and the Houthi Supreme Personal Council will discuss “lifting and all its repercussions” and restoration of Yemeni people’s rights. This includes paying salaries for all state employees who are paid from oil and gas revenue.
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Along with Omani officials, who were brokering the deal, the parties are also expected to discuss lifting a Saudi-led embargo on Yemeni ports.
Two sources familiar with the talks said that if an agreement is reached, the parties could announce the agreement before Islam’s Eid holiday begins on 20 April.
Parallel to UN peace efforts, the talks in Sanaa are ongoing.
After Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reestablish relations in a separate agreement, China has also been able to accelerate peace efforts.
This comes after Saudi Arabia released more than a dozen Houthi rebel prisoners of war in exchange for a Saudi prisoner.
This release was part of an UN-brokered agreement that Yemen’s warring sides reached last month.
Abdul-Qader el Murtaza said that the agreement includes nearly 900 prisoners being released from both sides. He is a Houthi official responsible for prisoner exchange negotiations.
In 2014, the Houthis seize Sanaa and a large portion of the country’s northern region. They overthrow the internationally recognized government that fled south and went into exile in Saudi Arabia.
Months later, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened to try to restore power to the internationally recognized government.