RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday praised the “positive results” of negotiations with Yemen’s Houthi rebels after they visited the Kingdom for peace talks.
The five-day talks, which represented the highest-level, public negotiations with the Houthis in the Kingdom, come as Saudi Arabia tries a renewed bid to end the yearslong conflict.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry in a statement early Wednesday marking the end of the Houthis’ trip “welcomed the positive results of the serious discussions regarding reaching a road map to support the peace path in Yemen.”
Its statement said: “The kingdom 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 in Yemen under the supervision of the United Nations.”
The Houthi delegation met with Saudi Arabia’s defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman during their visit.
“I emphasized the Kingdom’s support for Yemen and reaffirmed our commitment to promoting dialogue among all parties to reach a comprehensive political solution under UN supervision,” Prince Khalid said.
“We look forward to the success of these critical discussions, hoping that Yemeni parties will unite to achieve sustainable development, political stability, and lasting security, enabling Yemen to integrate into the progress and development witnessed within the GCC,” he added.
Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the chief Houthi negotiator, wrote online that the Houthis “held extensive meetings with the Saudi side in which we discussed some options and alternatives to overcome disagreements that previous rounds touched upon.”
He continued: “We will submit them to the leadership for consultation and in a way that will help in speeding up the disbursement of salaries and addressing the issues of the humanitarian situation that our Yemeni people are suffering from, leading to a just, comprehensive and sustainable solution.”
An official working on Yemen’s peace negotiations at the UN, which is now hosting the annual General Assembly in New York drawing world leaders, praised the talks.
“The renewed momentum is an important step that contributes positively to the United Nations’ effort to mediate an agreement,” special envoy Hans Grundberg said in a statement. “There is a continued need to work together and build on the gains and progress of the past months to initiate an inclusive platform where Yemenis can come together, grapple with their differences, and agree on solutions to achieve peace, recovery and development.”
A joint statement issued by the USand the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council commended “Saudi Arabia’s sustained efforts to encourage Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue.”
The statement added: “The ministers also emphasized their support for an inclusive, Yemeni-Yemeni political process under UN auspices that durably resolves the conflict.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE ending the war on the sidelines of the UN summit.
“We are, in our judgment, in a moment of opportunity, opportunity to help the people of Yemen chart a path toward a durable peace and durable security,” Blinken said.
Yemen’s conflict began in 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and ousted the internationall recognized government and much of the country’s north.