Houthi Delegation Flies Into Saudi Arabia To Explore Path To Durable Peace
Diplomatic efforts have been showing results in Yemen in the way that diplomatic efforts so often do in complex conflicts: slowly but surely.
In April 2022, the UN brokered a nationwide ceasefire that introduced the most substantial pause in fighting since the war began in 2014.
The truce brought a substantial reduction in violence and casualties. Although it expired last October, the deal has largely held in the time since.
Although it didn’t represent durable peace, in the first two months of the ceasefire, fatalities from violence declined sharply across Yemen – by about 85%.
A Brief Insight Into How Yemen War Worsened
The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 150,000 fighters and civilians and triggered one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world.
The clashes erupted when Iran-backed Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa and much of the country’s north. The internationally recognised government fled into exile in Saudi Arabia.
Months later, a Saudi-led coalition intervened and the conflict soon evolved into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the US providing intelligence support to the Kingdom.
However, criticism over Saudi airstrikes killing civilians saw the US pulling back its support. But the US is suspected of still carrying out drone strikes targeting Yemen’s local al-Qaida branch.
Houthi Delegation Enters Saudi Arabia For Peace Talks
Raising hopes of progress towards ending the conflict, a delegation from Yemen’s Houthi rebels flew into Riyadh on Thursday night on their first publicly announced visit.
While it remains unclear what terms are being discussed between the two parties, the trip comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity between the different groups part of the proxy war.
It appears to have begun with a visit on Monday to Oman by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Muscat has long served as an interlocutor between Iran and the Houthis.
The latest effort has also come after Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a Chinese-mediated detente agreement earlier this year, in a historic outcome.