Riyadh- According to a report by Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Omani-mediated negotiations to end the war in Yemen have been taking place directly between Riyadh and the Ansarallah-led Sanaa government, without the participation of the parties loyal to the Saudi-led coalition.
The report also suggests that Saudi Arabia is looking to disregard US pressure on the negotiations.
Citing informed sources, it states that the Saudi-appointed Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) and Saudi and UAE-backed forces in Yemen “appear to have no role in the negotiations.”
The report claims that Saudi Arabia is ignoring the secessionist aspirations of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) government and has rejected its demands to be included in the negotiations.
The talks have so far “achieved great progress,” particularly in relation to humanitarian issues, the sources say.
These negotiations are almost at a “final” stage, the sources go on to reveal, adding that the role of coalition-backed groups, namely the Saudi-appointed PLC and UAE-backed STC, “will not go beyond signing and attending the [upcoming] ceremony.”
Khaled Salman, editor of Yemeni newspaper Al-Thawri, said via social media that “Saudi Arabia is seriously seeking a long-term peace with Sanaa on its own path, away from American pressure, to deprive Washington of any cards that may be used against it in the future.”
He added that there is an “overwhelming” Saudi desire to withdraw from “the American mantle.”
Early last month, it was announced that Omani-mediated peace talks were in motion once again after being suspended due to what the Ansarallah resistance movement referred to as US interference. At the time, the group accused Washington of trying to obstruct the payment of the salaries of public servants in Yemen, one of the Sanaa government’s leading demands for peace.
On 14 September, an Ansarallah official announced the departure of its delegation to Saudi Arabia in order to resume Omani-mediated talks. Two days later, Sanaa’s chief negotiator, Muhammad Abdul Salam, said while in the kingdom: “We are always optimistic … Peace is our basic demand and the first option we are working on.”
According to Al-Akhbar, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) held a recent meeting in Muscat with a delegation from the Sanaa government.
The main topics discussed were “the state’s general budget, movement between provinces, and lifting the blockade on ports.”
As part of the Saudi-led blockade against Yemen, heavy restrictions remain imposed on the country’s main port of Hodeidah, as well as Sanaa International Airport.
“Bin Salman provided guarantees to Sanaa regarding all points of disagreement, including the American position opposing peace,” the report cites two sources – one of them being a Saudi foreign ministry advisor – as saying.
Tawfiq al-Humairi, information ministry advisor in the Sanaa government, said on 17 September: “Riyadh has accepted the terms that it had refused in the previous period to give space for discussion in all rounds.”
This includes a full lifting of the blockade and the return of “looted funds,” which Humairi said have been confiscated and held in the Saudi National Bank. These funds will be used to pay the salaries of all civil servants, he added.
“The pressures directed towards Saudi Arabia from Sanaa today outweigh the American pressures on Riyadh,” Humairi said, referring to Ansarallah’s threats of missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.