A Saudi delegation in Sana’a; Oman negotiations are progressing

For the first time since 2015, a Saudi delegation arrived to the Yemeni capital, Sana’a last Wednesday. The delegation consisted of a number of officers. At the same time, a similar delegation from the Salvation Government arrived to the Saudi region of Abha, with the aim of verifying the names of the prisoners according to the statements submitted by both parties to the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, last April.

Although the visit was linked to the prisoners’ file, it comes with the intensification of negotiations that aim to extend the armistice in the Omani capital, Muscat. This raised the ceiling of expectations that an agreement on the extension would be announced, ending the state of “no war” and “no peace” that Yemen has been experiencing since the expiration of the ceasefire on the second of this month.

At a time when the head of the “Prisoners’ Committee in Sana’a”, Abdul Qader Al-Murtada, denied any connections between the arrival of the Saudi delegation to Yemen, and the Muscat negotiations. He also pointed out that the exchange of technical delegations between Sana’a and Riyadh comes within the framework of the agreement approved under the auspices of the United Nations in the last round of discussions in the Jordanian capital, Amman. However, sources close to the Salvation Government said that this remarkable breakthrough would not have occurred without progress in the Oman talks, placing the step within the framework of “confidence-building” between the two parties.

This remarkable breakthrough would not have occurred without progress in the Oman talks

At the same time, Saudi media quoted the leadership of the “coalition” as saying that the mutual visit of two delegations from Sana’a and Riyadh comes as part of “confidence-building” efforts, and it is concerned with the prisoners’ file, without clarifying whether the mission of the Saudi delegation also includes verifying the identities of the prisoners affiliated with the government loyal to Riyadh, which are in thousands. However, according to informed sources in Sana’a, the Saudi technical delegation will focus its attention on the Saudi and Sudanese prisoners, which was an offer made by “Ansar Allah” to Saudi Arabia two years ago. The offer includes the release of one of the Saudi pilots and four other officers, in exchange for the kingdom’s release of detainees from the Palestinian “Islamic Jihad” and “Hamas” movements. However, the sources made it clear that Saudi Arabia has not yet accepted that offer.

With regard to the armistice negotiations, which are taking place under great international pressure, informed sources confirmed that there has been progress in these talks during the past 48 hours, expecting that they will move towards the stage of finalizing if there is no setback, after the understandings exceeded nearly 90%. Among the controversial files, the parties were able to lay the foundations for a solution and guarantees. The sources did not refer to resolving the dispute over disbursing the salaries of employees of the Ministries of Defense and Interior in the areas under the control of “Ansar Allah” according to the statements of 2014, but they confirmed the agreement to open five new destinations for Sana’a Airport flights, lift all restrictions on the port of Hodeidah, opening the roads of Taiz roads and a number of other provinces. The head of the Supreme Political Council, Mahdi Al-Mashat, reiterated, during his meeting with the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, three day ago, that “it is not possible to accept any proposal that requires the confiscation of the rights of some of the Yemeni people,” considering that “whoever rejects the rights of the Yemeni people is the one who refuses the armistice.”

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