The Shiite Houthi rebels have ‘secret’ talks with Saudi Arabia about the war in Yemen. A source among the rebels confirms to site DPA, that negotiations are ongoing between rebel leaders and senior Saudi representatives in the Omani capital of Muscat. The United States, the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, the Red Cross, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan act as mediators.
The Yemeni government, an ally of the Saudis, has not confirmed the existence of those talks. Riyadh also does not verify the negotiations. The civil war in Yemen has been going on since 2015. In that war, the rebels supported by Iran take on the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi. That government is supported militarily by a military coalition led by the Saudis. The rebels have large parts of the north of the country and capital Sanaa under control.
The talks in Oman came in response to a Houthi proposal in September. The rebels wanted to stop their drone attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia if the kingdom were to stop its attacks in Yemen.
There have been various mediation attempts in recent years, but they have never produced much. In December last year, under heavy international pressure, the two parties reached an agreement on a ceasefire in the important port city of Hodeida, and on withdrawal of the troops.
The civil war has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2015, including more than 10,000 civilians. This year alone, 20,000 people died.