Huthis, Saudis hold peace talk

The Yemen conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead and forced millions from their homes.
Huthis, Saudis hold peace talk

A delegation of Iran-backed Huthi rebels from Sanaa arrived in Saudi Arabia Thursday for peace talks to end the war in Yemen.

It was the first visit of Huthi officials to Riyadh since the neighboring country led a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 to restore the government they ousted the year prior.

Saudi state TV Al Ekhbariya said the talks, which come after a Saudi team visited Sanaa in April, were aimed at "finding a comprehensive political solution in Yemen."

Also on the agenda of the talks are finding a comprehensive ceasefire and moving from the stage of conflicts to stability, it said.

Huthis' political chief, Mahdi al-Mashat, said via the rebels' Saba news agency that the delegation will continue consultations

"Peace was and still is our first option and everyone must work to achieve it," Al-Mashat said.

A United Nations-brokered, six-month ceasefire that expired last October is still largely holding but moves towards peace have been slow since the Saudi delegation left Sanaa without an agreement five months ago.

The Yemen conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead and forced millions from their homes, causing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in a country already pummelled by decades of conflict and upheaval.

Moves towards peace in Yemen were boosted when heavyweight rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran announced a surprise rapprochement in March, seven years after they broke off ties.

The Huthi demands include payment of their civil servants' salaries by the displaced Yemeni government, and the launch of new destinations from Sanaa airport, which was closed until last year when commercial flights resumed to Jordan and Egypt.


Daily Tribune