New Peace Plan in Yemen Awaits Finishing Touches

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman meets with Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman meets with Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh. (SPA)
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New Peace Plan in Yemen Awaits Finishing Touches

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman meets with Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman meets with Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi in Riyadh. (SPA)

New efforts are underway to resolve the Yemeni crisis as it enters its ninth year. An informed Yemeni source revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that a comprehensive peace document is being drafted.

Sponsored by the United Nations, the finishing touches are being made to the draft that covers several phases.

The first phase of peace would include a nationwide ceasefire, reopening of all land, air and sea routes, the merger of the central banks and complete prisoner swap deals.

Meanwhile, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman reiterated the Kingdom’s constant support to Yemen.

He held talks in Riyadh with Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi. The minister underlined Saudi Arabia’s backing to the work of the PLC as it pursues security and stability in Yemen.

Prince Khalid and Al-Alimi discussed the latest efforts to revive the peace process in line with a UN-sponsored comprehensive political process.

A spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthi militias had announced earlier this week that Houthi officials had met with UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg in Oman for talks on the political and humanitarian arrangements of the comprehensive solution, as well as a prisoner swap.

Three phases

The latest peace plan for Yemen would take place over three stages. The first would take up six months, the second three and the final one two years. The informed sources said the timetable is still not finalized.

The plan would kick off with the declaration of a ceasefire and the formation of a committee that would oversee the merger of the central banks. A prisoner swap would be held and trust-building measures between the warring parties would be carried out.

The parties would then hold direct negotiations to establish how the Yemenis envision a state. This would then be followed by a transitional period.

The plan also calls for reopening all land, air and sea routes and lifting all restrictions on travel so that life could return to normal in government- and Houthi-held regions.

A comprehensive economic reform process, with Saudi Arabia’s backing, would also get underway. The source revealed that a committee, comprised of the PLC presidency, Yemeni prime minister and Saudi experts, has been formed to tackle the reforms. The committee is set to meet in the coming days.

The government has submitted its response and proposed amendments to the peace plan, revealed the source. It has demanded guarantees that the Houthis would not attempt to undermine the plan or renege on pledges.

The source expected a ceasefire to be declared in the coming days, for the truce to be consolidated and for fighting to stop at battlefronts. Other arrangements will need weeks to be implemented.

He added that the Houthis are escalating the situation on all military fronts to make the most gains before a ceasefire is declared.

Wary reaction

The Yemeni people are hoping that the latest peace efforts would end the war in their country and the coup by the Houthis against the legitimate government.

Chairman of Aden's Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abu Bakr Ba Obaid told Asharq Al-Awsat that he hoped change would take place in Yemen towards the better.

This change demands that the Yemenis abandon the revolution mindset and set their sights on construction and growth, he added.

Activists and researchers have warned against being too optimistic over the latest talk about peace. They said the Houthis remain untrustworthy, as demonstrated by how they failed to respect last year’s nationwide ceasefire and refused to reopen routes to Taiz city, one of the key demands of the truce.

Senior analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG) Ahmed Nagi said the latest peace plan will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of the Yemeni people and ease their humanitarian suffering.

He also said the plan would likely ease the military and political tensions and possibly lead to more understandings between the warring parties in the future. He noted that the announcement that Saudi Arabia and Iran were restoring their diplomatic relations would also have a positive impact in Yemen.

The optimism does not mean that the legacy of eight years of war will be erased any time soon, he warned. Quick solutions will fail in addressing the catastrophic situation in the country. The solutions must focus on the causes of the conflict and contain its consequences.

Mokhtar Abdullah, a store owner in the interim capital, Aden, welcomed the peace plan, saying the Yemenis have waited years for such news. He hoped the Yemeni parties would rise up to the occasion and work towards the public good, not their own interests.



US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
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US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)

The United States military unleashed a wave of attacks targeting radar sites operated by Yemen's Houthi militants over their assaults on shipping in the crucial Red Sea corridor, authorities said Saturday, after one merchant sailor went missing following an earlier Houthi strike on a ship.
The attacks come as the US Navy faces the most intense combat it has seen since World War II in trying to counter the Houthi campaign — attacks the militants say are meant to halt the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
However, the Iranian-backed group assaults often see the Houthis target ships and sailors who have nothing to do with the war while traffic remains halved through a corridor vital for cargo and energy shipments between Asia, Europe and the Mideast.
US strikes destroyed seven radars within Houthi-controlled territory, the military's Central Command said. It did not elaborate on how the sites were destroyed and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.
“These radars allow the Houthis to target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping,” Central Command said in a statement.
The US separately destroyed two bomb-laden drone boats in the Red Sea, as well as a drone launched by the Houthis over the waterway, it said.
The Houthis, who have held Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since 2014, did not acknowledge the strikes, nor any military losses. That's been typical since the US began launching airstrikes targeting the group.
Meanwhile, Central Command said one commercial sailor from the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier Tutor remained missing after an attack Wednesday by the Houthis that used a bomb-carrying drone boat to strike the vessel.
“The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by USS Philippine Sea and partner forces,” Central Command said. The “Tutor remains in the Red Sea and is slowly taking on water.”
The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.
The war in the Gaza Strip has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians there, according to Gaza health officials, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.
“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” Central Command said. “The ongoing threat to international commerce caused by the Houthis in fact makes it harder to deliver badly needed assistance to the people of Yemen as well as Gaza.”