A Saudi official said on Wednesday that Riyadh is in talks with Yemen’s Ansarullah in a bid to end the war in the Arab impoverished country, in the first official confirmation of dialogue between the two sides.
“We have had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016. We are continuing these communications to support peace in Yemen,” a senior Saudi official told reporters, referring to another name of Yemeni revolutionary Ansarullah movement.
“We don’t close our doors with the Houthis.”
Ansarullah officials have repeatedly voiced readiness to halt the retaliatory attacks against the Saudi Kingdom, stressing that Riyadh should first stop the aggression on Yemen.
The comment comes after Saudi Arabia brokered a power sharing agreement between Saudi-backed exiled government and southern separatists, which observers say could pave the way for a wider peace deal.
Earlier in September, Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said during a visit to Riyadh that Washington too was in talks with the Houthis.
He did not say whether the Americans were holding talks separately, but analysts say they were likely happening in consultation with Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Washington.
Yemen has been since March 2015 under brutal aggression by Saudi-led Coalition, in a bid to restore control to exiled president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is Riyadh’s ally
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been killed or injured in the strikes launched by the coalition, with the vast majority of them are civilians.
The coalition, which includes in addition to Saudi Arabia and UAE: Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait, has been also imposing a harsh blockade against Yemenis.