News ID: 257955
Published: 0220 GMT August 28, 2019

WSJ: US plans to open direct talks with Houthis in Yemen

WSJ: US plans to open direct talks with Houthis in Yemen

The US government is planning to open direct talks with Yemen's Houthi forces in a bid to end the country's four-year conflict, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Officials familiar with the matter told the newspaper that the Trump administration was pushing Saudi Arabia, who leads the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, to take part in secret talks in Oman with the group's leaders in an attempt to broker a cease-fire.

Enjoying the support of the US and UK, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, Press TV reported.

Yemen's resistance, however, has pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces increasingly using sophisticated weaponry in retaliatory attacks against the Saudi-led coalition.

Over the past months, the Yemeni army has managed to conduct several missile and drone attacks on Saudi airports and oil facilities.

The UN has warned that the war in Yemen has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, risking a famine and leaving tens of thousands dead.

Officials from former President Barack Obama's administration secretly met with Houthi leaders in 2015 shortly after the war began to secure the release of US hostages. US officials also met with Houthi leaders in Sweden during UN-led peace talks held in December 2018.

However, the officials told the WSJ that there had been no significant direct discussions with the group since 2017.

Over three million people have been displaced and some two-thirds of the country's population are in need of aid, the World Food Programme says.

A WFP spokesperson told AFP that the agency distributes more than 130,000 metric tons of food each month in Yemen despite "operational challenges" linked to the complex conflict.

"WFP needs unimpeded access to all areas of the country so we can get food assistance to those who need it most."


Khalid bin Salman in US


A younger brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Washington this week, with President Donald Trump’s evolving policy toward Yemen expected to be on the agenda for talks with the administration.

Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman’s visit comes days after the report that the US is looking to enter talks with Houthis in the festering war in Yemen.

The Saudi Press Agency said Prince Khalid “will meet a number of officials to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern that support the security and stability of the region,” without providing specifics on meetings planned with administration officials.



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