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In Yemen, Saudi-Houthi talks signal imminent cease-fire, but no peace in sight yet

Saudi Arabia, whose unilateral cease-fire in April 2020 and initiative in March 2021 were rejected by the Houthis, is finally eyeing a negotiable exit from a war it could not win militarily, chiefly due to multiplicity of agendas, mismanagement of war and lack of strategy.
A handout photo released by Yemen's Houthis-run Saba News Agency shows the Omani and Saudi delegations in meeting Houthi officials, on April 09, 2023 in Sana'a, Yemen. A delegation from Saudi Arabia and Omani mediators arrived in Yemen's capital Sana'a on Sunday to negotiate a new truce with the Iran-allied Houthi group, as Riyadh seeks a way out of the war and create peace in Yemen. This important political move comes as Diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict have multiplied since the Yemeni government

Saudi Arabia's high-level delegation visited Sana'a over the weekend for talks with the Houthi rebels, in a first public trip to Yemen's capital since the war intensified in 2015, raising hopes of an imminent permanent cease-fire deal buoyed by a thaw between Tehran and Riyadh. Such de-escalation is a respite for Yemenis but is not equivalent to sustainable peace in the country.

Upon arriving to Sana'a on Sunday, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed al-Jaber said the visit would build on Omani efforts to stabilize the truce and the cease-fire. It is also to "explore venues of dialogue between Yemeni components to reach a sustainable, comprehensive political solution in Yemen,” Jaber tweeted on Monday, a day after shaking hands, exchanging smiles and taking memorable pictures with the Houthi Supreme Political Council’s chief Mahdi al-Mashat in Sana’a and others on the coalition’s wanted list.

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