Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir speaks during a press conference held at Saudi Foreign Ministry press hall, on January 3, 2016 in Riyadh Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Bilateral talks between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Al Houthi militia group have witnessed “positive developments,” the Saudi foreign minister said in Riyadh on Monday in a joint press conference with his New Zealand counterpart.

“We look forward to further developments before the talks in Kuwait... we are now working on bringing together our positions and we hope that the Kuwait talks lead to the implementatino of UN Resolution [2216]” he said, referring to the Yemen peace talks that are scheduled to be held in Kuwait on April 18.

A delegation from the Al Houthi group is still in Saudi Arabia, but no representatives of ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied to Al Houthis, is present in the kingdom, Adel Al Jubeir said. He added that the talks are aimed at bringing peace and stability to Yemen, and calm on the Saudi border.

Al Jubeir added that Iran, which is accused of supporting the Al Houthi rebellion, is violating international law by intervening in Arab countries.

Al Jubair echoed the statements of Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who said in an interview last week that warring parties in Yemen are close to ending the war.

“There is significant progress in negotiations, and we have good contacts with Al Houthis, with a delegation currently in Riyadh,” he said. “We are pushing to have this opportunity materialise on the ground but if things relapse, we are ready.”

Also on Monday, US Navy said it has seized a weapons shipment on March 28 in the Arabian Sea from Iran likely heading to Yemen. and that it included 1,500 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns.

On Sunday, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi relieved prime minister and vice president Khaled Bahah of his duties due to what he called government “failures”.

Hadi appointed Ahmed bin Dagher, former secretary general of the General People’s Congress party to which the president once belonged, as prime minister. He appointed veteran General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar as vice president.

Bahah’s government has “failed to ease the suffering of our people, resolve their problems and provide their needs,” Hadi said in a statement.

Government sources have in the past spoke of differences between the president and Bahah, who had served as Yemen’s envoy to the United Nations before Hadi appointed him as foreign minister and then prime minister.