Head of Houthi Delegation to Asharq Al-Awsat: Peace is Our First Option

Mohammed Abdulsalam sits to the right of the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al Jaber, during the Saudi delegation’s visit to Sanaa in April. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Mohammed Abdulsalam sits to the right of the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al Jaber, during the Saudi delegation’s visit to Sanaa in April. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
TT

Head of Houthi Delegation to Asharq Al-Awsat: Peace is Our First Option

Mohammed Abdulsalam sits to the right of the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al Jaber, during the Saudi delegation’s visit to Sanaa in April. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Mohammed Abdulsalam sits to the right of the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al Jaber, during the Saudi delegation’s visit to Sanaa in April. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

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.”



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
TT

Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.