Cairo: Saudi Arabia, which is leading an Arab alliance fighting in Yemen, and Iran-allied Al Houthi militia are interested in reaching an agreement to end a years-long war there, according to a senior Omani official.
In 2015, the Arab alliance spearheaded by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from the internationally recognised government there after Al Houthis overran parts of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
In recent weeks, there have been media reports about indirect Saudi-Al Houthi talks mediated by Oman to end the conflict.
Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousuf Bin Alawi said there is a reciprocal desire between Saudi Arabia and Al Houthis to talk to reach an agreement for stability and security, Omani media reported Tuesday without providing details.
Bin Alawi made the remarks in Washington after talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They discussed several political issues of mutual interest at the regional and international level, Oman’s official news agency reported without elaborating.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council last week, the international peace envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths cited recent signs of de-escalation and moves to end Yemen’s devastating five-year war.
The former British diplomat pointed to a major reduction in the alliance’s air strikes in Yemen. “In recent weeks, there have been entire 48-hour periods without air strikes at all for the first time since the conflict began,” he said.
He also said there has been a halt to Al Houthi drone and missile attacks into neighbouring Saudi Arabia since late September when the militia offered what it called a peace initiative to end the war in exchange for stopping the military campaign against them.
Griffiths lauded a Saudi-brokered peace pact signed earlier this month by the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, seeing the deal as an example of the “kind of leadership that creates peace”.
Yemen’s conflict has pushed the impoverished country to the verge of famine and ruined its infrastructures.