Children ride on the back of a truck during the first day of a ceasefire in Sana'a. Image Credit: Reuters

Al Mukalla: Representatives of Yemen’s government taking part in Monday’s peace talks in Kuwait say that they have hopes negotiations will bring an end to years of conflict in Yemen citing “important” developments that point to Al Houthi willingness to engage in constructive talks with the government.

Salim Al Khanbashi, a member of the government’s delegation, told Gulf News that there are encouraging prospects for peace.

“I am optimistic that peace talks in Kuwait will bring about fruitful results,” he said.

The warring parties agreed last week to halt hostilities on all fronts.

Al Khanbashi who landed in Kuwait on Sunday said that the talks will revolve around five points: cessation of hostilities, Al Houthi withdrawal from cities, disarmament, release of prisoners and clearing the path for Yemen’s legitimate government to return to Sana’a.

“There are many local and international developments [which] demonstrate that the Al Houthis would positively comply with these points,” Al Khanbashi said.

Clandestine talks between the Al Houthis and Saudis last month secured a promise in writing from Al Houthis and figures allied to ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 2216 that compels them to pull out of the capital, Al Khanbashi revealed.

He attributed the Al Houthi promise to their diminishing manpower, having endured heavy losses in fighting with the Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Under the signed promise, the rebel group will allow Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi back to the capital.

“They have hit rock bottom after suffering heavy blows from coalition air strikes. They have lost most of their military arsenal and thousands of their fighters,” Al Khanbashi said.

For the first time since the Arab coalition joined the war early last year, Al Houthis are now singing a different tune, he said.

“They have significantly toned down their rhetoric and language about the coalition and Hadi’s government,” he said, pointing out that they no longer have expansionist aims.

Reports of breaches in the ceasefire will not deter negotiators in Kuwait, Al Khanbashi assured. “In all wars, there are breaches in truces, but in Kuwait there is great zeal towards striking a peace deal,” he affirmed.

Currently there are ceasefire monitors deployed on the ground. In Taiz, they have met with warring sides and opened roads that were previously closed due to the fighting.