Recent agreements and reports of indirect talks between warring sides in Yemen’s ongoing civil war indicate a trend toward bringing an end to the four year old conflict fought to restore the U.N.-recognized Hadi government to power after it was overthrown by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Last week, Yemen’s Saudi-backed government signed an agreement with southern separatists on November 5th to end a power struggle in southern Yemen. The separatists, called the Southern Transitional Council, turned against the Saudi-backed government in August. The council advocates self-rule in the south and a say in Yemen’s future, according to the New York Times.
The signing of the agreement allows Saudi Arabia and its allies to refocus on bringing an end to the larger war. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hailed as a step toward a wider political solution to end the multifaceted conflict, the New York Times reports. President Trump praised the deal as “A very good start!” he said on Twitter. “Please all work hard to get a final deal.”
One week after that agreement was signed, the Associated Press reports today that Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Iran-backed rebels are holding indirect, behind-the-scenes talks to put an end to the war with negotiations taking place in – and being mediated by – Oman.
The AP notes that Oman has positioned itself “as a quiet mediator in the past and in a possible sign the back-channel talks could be stepping up, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman arrived in Muscat on Monday.”
The Oman-mediated talks began in September, the AP reports.