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Talks in Yemen’s capital with Saudi officials raise hopes of ceasefire

Saudi and Omani delegations have held talks with Houthi officials in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Saudi and Omani delegations have held talks with Houthi officials in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. Copyright AP/AP
Copyright AP/AP
By Euronews
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Saudi and Omani delegations have held talks with Houthi officials in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, with the hopes of agreeing on a ceasefire.

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Saudi and Omani delegations held talks with Houthi officials in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday as part of international efforts to end Yemen’s nine-year conflict.

Saudi Arabia’s delegation, chaired by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, met with Mahdi al-Mashat, the head of the Houthi’s supreme political council, which runs rebel-held areas in Yemen.

The visit indicates progress in the Oman-mediated consultations between Riyadh and Sanaa, which run parallel to United Nations peace efforts.

Negotiations gained momentum when arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to re-establish ties after a seven-year rift.

The talks were aiming for a ceasefire but hopes are growing for something more permanent.

Saudi Arabia and the Houthis reached a draft deal last month to revive a cease-fire that expired in October. The deal is meant to usher in a return to Yemeni political talks, according to Saudi and Yemeni officials.

Earlier on Saturday, Saudi Arabia released over a dozen Houthis war prisoners as part of an UN-brokered deal that Yemen’s warring parties struck last month.

The conflict started in 2014, when the Houthis seized Sanaa and much of the country’s north, ousting the internationally-recognised government that fled to the south and then into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi move prompted a Saudi-led coalition to intervene months later in a bid to restore the internationally recognised government to power. The conflict has in recent years turned into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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