Houthi forces in Sanaa in December 2021

Houthi forces in Sanaa in December 2021

Houthis Welcome Talks With Saudi Coalition, But In A Neutral Country

3/16/2022

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi group said Wednesday it would welcome talks with the Saudi-led coalition if the venue is a neutral country, including some Persian Gulf states.

The Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plans to invite Yemeni parties including the Houthis for consultations in Riyadh this month, two officials in the region told Reuters on Tuesday.

"It is neither logical, nor fair that the host of the talks is also the sponsor of war and blockade," the Iran-aligned movement said in a statement on the official news agency.

Riyadh leads a military coalition that has been battling the Houthis for seven years in a conflict widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Tehran has been saying in recent months that it wants to improve ties with regional countries, but has suspended talks with Saudi Arabia.

GCC members Oman, where some Houthi officials are based, and Kuwait, which hosted previous peace talks in 2015, would be a more neutral ground for such consultations.

The UN special envoy has been holding talks with Yemeni parties to build a framework for inclusive political negotiations to end the war that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The alliance intervened in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014. The group says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

Reporting by Reuters

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