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