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Saudi Arabia hails ‘positive’ peace talks with Yemenis

A delegation from Yemen’s Ansarullah meets with Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud in Riyadh on September 19, 2023. (Via X)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed the “positive results” of talks with a delegation from Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement aimed at bringing an end to the kingdom’s eight-year war on its southern neighbor.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry supported a political solution to the Yemen conflict in a statement released on Wednesday, after the Yemeni team, along with an Omani mediator, returned to Sana’a following five days of talks with Saudi officials in Riyadh.

The ministry said it welcomed “the positive results of the serious discussions regarding reaching a road map to support the peace path in Yemen.”

Riyadh, it added, “continues to stand with Yemen and its brotherly people and … encourages the Yemeni parties to sit at the negotiating table to reach a comprehensive and lasting political solution … under the supervision of the United Nations.”

The Yemeni delegation arrived in Saudi Arabia last week. It was the first such official visit to the kingdom since the war broke out in 2015.

Reports said the Saudi-appointed Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) in Yemen and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) had no role in the Riyadh negotiations.

The Yemeni delegation met with Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud.

In an X post, Prince Khalid said that during the meeting he had “emphasized the Kingdom’s support for Yemen and reaffirmed our commitment to promoting dialogue among all parties.”

According to a report by Reuters, informed sources said some progress has been made on the main sticking points, including a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Yemen and a mechanism for paying public wages.

They also noted that there would be more talks “soon” after consultations.

Ali al-Qhoom, a member of Ansarullah’s Political Bureau, said the Riyadh talks were “serious and positive” and that “there will be a new round.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, launched the war to restore power in Yemen to the impoverished country’s Western- and Riyadh-allied government.

The former Yemeni government’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, resigned from the presidency in late 2014 and later fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict with Ansarullah. The movement has been running Yemen’s affairs in the absence of a functioning administration.

The war and a concomitant siege that the Saudi-led coalition has been imposing on Yemen has, meanwhile, caused the death of tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the site of, what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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