Yemen fighting rages on amid new diplomatic push

Arab coalition jets target Houthi stronghold of Saada as officials say talks to end conflict have made progress.

    Yemeni politicians said talks in Oman to end the conflict had made some progress [Getty Images]
    Yemeni politicians said talks in Oman to end the conflict had made some progress [Getty Images]

    Jets from the Arab coalition have targeted Houthi rebel positions in their stronghold of Saada on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia.

    The strikes against the rebels on Monday came as Yemeni officials said diplomats' attempts to bring an end to the conflict at talks in Oman had made some progress.

    The Saada attacks followed Sunday's strikes against military targets in Sanaa and on rebel fighters in the port city of Aden, where the Houthis are involved in pitched battles with forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    Political sources in Oman confirmed on Monday that diplomats were brokering talks between US and Houthi officials in the capital Muscat.

    Independent politicians in Sanaa said the new diplomacy had succeeded in narrowing gaps between the Houthis and the exiled government to pave the way for eventual UN-backed negotiations in Geneva.

    "There's progress in the talks towards an agreement on a long truce and reviving political dialogue," one politician told the Reuters news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has also achieved headway towards convening talks in Geneva, Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi said.

    He said progress was made on "the date, agenda and framework for the Geneva talks and the parties that attend the meeting" and that a formal announcement was expected within hours.

    Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in the Saudi capital Riyadh for talks with Yemeni President Hadi, his deputy, Vice President Khaled Bahah, and other political figures. Before that, he held discussions with Houthi leaders in Sanaa.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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