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Yemen war ending? Prospects bright as Saudi-Omani delegation to meet Houthi officials

The prospects of peace in Yemen appear bright as the Saudi Arabian and Omani delegates are planning to meet Houthis of the war-torn country.

Saudi-Omani delegation to meet Houthi officials in Yemen

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A Saudi Arabia-Omani delegation will meet next week to establish a permanent peace agreement with Houthi officials in Yemen, according to the Ashraq Al-Awsat newspaper. Both the Saudi and Yemeni governments have refused to comment on this matter.

The Iran-backed Houthis are effectively in power in northern Yemen after ousting Saudi-backed President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government in the capital Sanaa in 2014. They say their rise is against a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

More than four million people have been killed directly or indirectly since 2015, the UN has proposed to make its final declaration, which is expected to be implemented in three stages.

In the first phase of the Houthi and Saudi-Omani peace accords, things like a country-wide ceasefire, the opening of land-water-air routes, as well as the annexation of central banks and prisoner exchanges have taken place.

According to Reuters, if the peace agreement is possible, it could be implemented before the Islamic holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr, which begins on April 20th.

However, analysts believe that the process may be blocked by the US and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE controls most of the ports in southern Yemen, from which Yemeni oil is exported. For political and economic reasons, several important coastal areas are in their possession and the Yemeni want to maintain their control over waterways.

According to Reuters, Middle East analysts anticipate the Yemenis will not be happy with this peace agreement.

The deal would disrupt the profits the US was making from arms sales because of the conflict. The US has sold $54bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE since 2015, which is 17% of its foreign arms sales.

A joint study by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute and The Washington Times has found that a ‘substantial portion’ of airstrikes that killed civilians in Yemen was carried out by fighter jets developed, sold and maintained by US companies and flown by the US-trained pilots.

Key issues include fully reopening Yemen’s ports and airports, paying wages for civil servants, building infrastructure for reconstruction, and looking at changing the political situation.

The Saudi-led coalition has lifted an eight-year-old ban on imports to Yemen’s southern ports. In February, it then eased restrictions on commercial goods entering the country’s main seaport, the Houthi-held western port of Hodeidah.

On Thursday, April 6th, the Yemeni government said that commercial ships would be allowed to dock directly at southern ports, including Aden, and that all cargo would be unloaded, with few exceptions.

Reuters reported that Abu Bakr Abed, deputy head of Yemen’s Chambers of Commerce, said that for the first time since the Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, ships will not have to stop at the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah for security checks.

Abed told Reuters more than 500 goods, including fertilisers and batteries, will be removed from the list of prohibited goods entering Yemen through southern ports.

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