Mohammad Abdulsalam, chief negotiator of the Houthi delegation to Saudi Arabia, said that peace is the group’s first option, expressing his hope that the Riyadh discussions will lead to tangible progress on all humanitarian, military and political matters, in a way that achieves peace and stability in Yemen, neighboring countries and the region.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdulsalam noted that the Houthi negotiation team’s visit to the Saudi capital comes in continuation of previous discussions that took place with the Saudi delegation in Muscat and Sanaa.
The Houthi delegation arrived in Riyadh on Thursday evening, accompanied by Omani representatives, as part of efforts to end the war and achieve peace in Yemen.
Asked whether he was optimistic about the results of the current negotiations, Abdulsalam replied: “We are always optimistic... Peace is a basic demand for us and the first option that we are working on.”
For its part, the Yemeni government welcomed the Saudi-Omani efforts, and the UN and international endeavor to push the Houthi militias towards dealing seriously with calls for peace and alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni population.
In a statement on Friday, the government stressed that it would maintain its open approach to all initiatives aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive peace, in accordance with the three terms of reference and in a way that ensures an end to the coup and the restoration of state institutions, and guarantees security, stability and development in Yemen.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced that it had invited a delegation from Sanaa to visit Riyadh, within the framework of the Saudi initiative announced in March 2021.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan welcomed on Friday the first official visit of a Houthi delegation to the Kingdom.
“This is the first official visit by Houthi representatives to Riyadh since the war in Yemen began nearly a decade ago. It comes after nearly 18 straight months of calm that began after a UN-mediated truce first went into effect on April 2, 2022,” he stated.
Sullivan added: “We commend the leadership of Saudi Arabia for this current initiative and thank the leadership of Oman for its important role. We call on all parties to this terrible conflict to further solidify and expand on the benefits of the truce that has brought a measure of peace to the Yemeni people, and ultimately bring this war to an end.”