Saudi Arabia is intensifying informal talks with the Houthi movement on a ceasefire in Yemen, Reuters reported, quoting sources familiar with the discussions.
The talks were launched in Jordan in late September, three of the sources said, with Riyadh taking sole responsibility for military efforts by the Arab alliance, known as the Saudi-led coalition, after the exit of its main partner, the United Arab Emirates.
The discussions began after Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionary movement, known as the Houthis, offered to halt cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities if the Saudi-led coalition ended air strikes on Yemen, they said.
A fourth source said “discussions on finalizing the security pact are moving very quickly now through a number of channels” but that Riyadh ‘still had concerns’ about its border security.
“We have had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016. We are continuing these communications to support peace in Yemen,” a Saudi official said.
Meanwhile, the agency quoted a Houthi official, who declined to be named, as confirming that the group was discussing a broad ceasefire with Riyadh but cautioned that the group’s patience was “wearing thin”.
The United Nations also hopes to restart negotiations between Yemen’s Saudi-backed exiled government and the Houthis to end the war in the Arab impoverished country.
The UN’s Yemen special envoy has said he hopes for a resolution to the conflict in the first few months of 2020.