SANAA (Dispatches) – The Saudi regime is reportedly intensifying informal talks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement to reach a ceasefire agreement in Yemen, sources familiar with the discussions say.
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 waging war in Yemen after the exit of its main partner, the United Arab Emirates.
The discussions began after the Houthis offered to halt retaliatory missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities if the Saudi-led coalition ended its airstrikes 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.
A Houthi official, who declined to be named, confirmed the group was discussing a broad ceasefire with Riyadh but cautioned that the group’s patience was "wearing thin”.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.