Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman meets the Houthi delegation in Riyadh. September 20, 2023 (X/@kbsalsaud)

Talks with the Houthis: Saudis report positive outcomes and Bin Salman meets the group’s delegation


Wed, 20-09-2023 10:33 AM, Aden Time

Riyadh (South24)

Saudi Arabia today welcomed the "positive outcomes" of discussions held by a delegation from the Iranian-backed Houthi group with a Saudi team in Riyadh over the past five days.

The Ministry said that the Saudi communication and coordination team headed by the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al Jaber, held the discussions “with the participation of a delegation from the Sultanate of Oman with Sanaa delegation headed by Mohammed Abdulsalam.”

The Houthi delegation arrived in Riyadh last Thursday, accompanied by an Omani delegation coming from Sanaa.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that these discussions come as a continuation of the previous discussions held by the Saudi team with the Chairman and members of the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) and in Sanaa during the period (April 9-14), in which a number of suggestions and options were drawn to develop a road map agreed upon by all Yemeni parties.

Simultaneously, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman revealed on Friday a meeting with the Houthi delegation in the presence of senior Saudi officials.

This is the first official public meeting of a senior Saudi official with the Iranian-backed group since the war outbreak in Yemen in 2014.

Bin Salman said on (X) platform: “During my meeting with the delegation today, I confirmed that the Kingdom stands with Yemen and its people, and its keenness to encourage the Yemeni parties to sit at the dialogue table to reach a comprehensive and lasting political solution in Yemen under the supervision of the United Nations.”

On Tuesday, Houthi media announced that the group's delegation had left Riyadh, heading to Sanaa to consult with their leadership.

The head of the Houthi delegation Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Tuesday evening: “Our delegation, upon its arrival in Riyadh, held extensive meetings with the Saudi side in which we discussed some options and alternatives to overcome the issues of disagreement that the previous round had reached.”

 “We will present them [the options] to the leadership for consultation, in a way that will help speed up the distribution of salaries and address the humanitarian situation that our Yemeni people are suffering from, in a way that leads to a just, comprehensive, and sustainable solution," Abdulsalam added, on (X) platform.

The Houthi talks with Saudi Arabia come amid the absence of other Yemeni actors so far. While the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) diplomatically welcomed the Saudi efforts, other Yemeni parties and political figures expressed concern that these efforts would lead to empowering the Houthis and strengthening their influence, especially in North, which has come under the control of the group's militia.

Last week, the United States strongly welcomed the visit of the Houthi delegation to Riyadh.

The United States Secretary of State said during a meeting with the Chairman of Yemen's PLC Rashad Al-Alimi, and PLC member Major General Aidrous Al-Zubaidi, in New York, that "the comprehensive Yemeni-Yemeni talks mediated by the United Nations have now become necessary to reach a lasting peace."

On Tuesday, a tripartite meeting, which included the foreign ministers of the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, discussed efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis and a permanent solution to the conflict in Yemen.

On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia announced an expanded military alliance against the Houthi militia in Yemen, months after its control of the Yemeni capital city Sanaa, and its coup against the legitimate state.

The most tragic war in the poor country led to the death of tens of thousands of civilians, the displacement of millions, and nearly two-thirds of the population facing the threat of food insecurity in the country.

South24 Center

HouthisSaudi ArabiaPeace processYemeni conflictRiyadhSanaa