Yemeni Houthi officials are expected in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the coming days. This announcement on Thursday publicly marks the rapprochement between the camp of rebels close to Iran and that of the government supported by the Saudis.
Hope for a breakthrough in the conflict in Yemen. Representatives of the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, are preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia. A first visit publicly announced since a military coalition led by Riyadh initiated a conflict against them in 2015, Yemeni sources indicated on Thursday September 14.
“Preparations are underway for the visit of a Houthi delegation to Riyadh in the next 72 hours,” a Yemeni government official close to the matter told AFP, in a statement confirmed by the Houthis and Western diplomatic sources.
A Western diplomat in Yemen declared that the Houthis’ visit could take place “today” (Thursday) or in the next two days.
Ali Al-Qhoom, member of the Houthis’ political council, also announced the visit on X (formerly Twitter). He added that the Houthi rebel delegation would travel to Saudi Arabia on an Omani plane.
Contacted by AFP, Saudi officials did not immediately respond.
Towards a lasting ceasefire?
The announcement of the visit comes five months after Saudi officials organized talks in the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Among the demands made by the Houthi rebels then were the payment of the salaries of their civil servants by the Yemeni government and the launch of new destinations from Sanaa airport, which was closed for a long time until flights resumed with Jordan and Egypt last year.
On the ground, the ceasefire negotiated by the United Nations continues to hold to a large extent even though it officially ended last October.
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This rapprochement with the Saudis also comes several months after a warming of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who were at loggerheads for years on various issues.
The poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has been plunged for eight years into a war pitting Houthi rebels against the government, supported by a military coalition led by Riyadh.
Source: France 24