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Saudi Arabia holds military negotiations with UAE after welcoming Houthi truce offer

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman (L) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan

Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates have discussed military issues, shortly after Riyadh said it views truce offered by Yemen’s Houthis positively. 

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed "challenges" facing the Persian Gulf region and "efforts to confront them" in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are key partners in the Saudi-led military invasion of Yemen.

Last month, the Houthi movement offered to halt its retaliatory attacks against Saudi Arabia if the kingdom ends its bombing campaign against Yemen.

Prince Khalid said on Friday Saudi Arabia perceived the truce "positively," adding "this is what it has always sought, and hopes it will be implemented effectively.”

The offer and the kingdom's belated welcome followed a recent major ground operation by Yemenis and a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.

Differences between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi emerged after the UAE reduced its presence in June in a move seen as an attempt to restore the Persian Gulf country's reputation.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain conducted two joint naval exercises in the Persian Gulf.

The official Saudi Press Agency SPA said Saudi naval and air forces as well as the Royal Bahrain Navy took part in the exercises dubbed "Jisr-20" and "Amwaj-4".

The exercises aim to help “counter-terrorist operations on oil installations, protect territorial waters” in the Persian Gulf, the agency said.

They also aim to “strengthen cooperation and exchange expertise between the Saudi armed forces and their Bahraini counterparts,” it added.

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