Saudi Arabia sees progress on Yemen, stresses need to reinstate truce

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday progress was being made towards ending the Yemen war, in which Riyadh leads a military coalition, but more work was needed, including reinstating a truce and transitioning to a permanent ceasefire.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said the eight-year conflict would only be resolved through a political settlement.

The United Nations envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, speaking on the same panel, said ending the war “will not be easy” and mistrust remains, but that serious steps have been taken recently.

The eight-year-old conflict between a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Iran-aligned Houthi militias, the de facto authorities in North Yemen, has killed tens of thousands of people, wrecked the economy and pushed millions into hunger.

A UN-brokered truce deal agreed in April and rolled over twice delivered the longest stretch of relative calm that has largely held since its expiry on October 2, though the two sides stepped up an economic war.

The United Nations has been pushing for an extended and broader deal encompassing a mechanism to pay public sector wages, which the Houthis had criticised for not including armed forces members.

Grundberg, speaking from Sana’a earlier this week, thanked Saudi Arabia and Oman for their diplomacy and said discussions in the past month have developed “options for mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues.”

But he advised against a “piecemeal approach” focused on individual needs, saying talks on short-term steps should be part of a broader approach toward a sustainable resolution of a multifaceted conflict in which several parties are vying for power.

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