Saudi and Omani delegations held talks with officials from Houthi rebels in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.
The meeting, mediated by Oman, is seen as progress towards a permanent ceasefire in Yemen and the end of Saudi Arabia’s military involvement in the country’s ongoing conflict.
These peace talks run alongside United Nations peace efforts and have gained momentum after Saudi Arabia and Iran, two arch-rivals, agreed to re-establish relations in a deal brokered by China.
Oman, which shares borders with Yemen, has long tried to reconcile differences between Yemen’s warring factions, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
The delegations met with the head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, in Sana’a’s presidential palace, where they discussed ending hostilities and lifting the Saudi-led blockade on Yemeni ports.
They also talked about the payment of wages for public servants, rebuilding efforts, and a timeline for foreign forces to exit the country.
According to Reuters sources, the Saudi-Houthi talks are focused on reopening Houthi-controlled ports and the Sana’a airport, as well as implementing a timeline for foreign forces to leave the country.
They also aim to rebuild Yemen and pay public servants wages.
Yemen’s war is considered a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the Houthis, who are aligned with Iran, took control of north Yemen after ousting a Saudi-backed government in Sana’a in late 2014.
The group claims it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
The Houthis have been fighting a Saudi-led military alliance since 2015, a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and left 80% of Yemen’s population dependent on humanitarian aid.
The talks in Sana’a and the release of prisoners signal hope for the resolution of the crisis.
The Houthi rebels released 13 detainees on Saturday, which was part of a prisoner exchange agreement agreed upon by the warring sides at talks in Switzerland last month, attended by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The talks in Sana’a come as a glimmer of hope for Yemen, a country that has been ravaged by war for several years.
The war has had devastating consequences on the country’s infrastructure, health, and economic systems.
The UN has called the situation the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
However, with the recent peace talks and the possibility of a permanent ceasefire, there is a chance that Yemen may be able to recover from the devastating effects of the conflict.