Oman, a mediator in ceasefire talks between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi group, says it hopes an agreement between the warring parties would be reached “very soon”.
Muscat has been working closely with Saudi Arabia, the US and the United Nations to reach a comprehensive political solution to the crisis that has raged for six years now.
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“The sultanate hopes that these contacts will achieve the desired result very soon, in order to restore security and stability to brotherly Yemen and preserve the security and interests of the countries in the region,” a statement carried by the Omani state news agency ONA said on Tuesday.
Since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen on March 26, 2015, tens of thousands of people have been killed, mostly civilians, and millions pushed towards starvation.
Some Houthi officials, including the group’s chief negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam, have lived in Muscat since the coalition launched air raids in support of the internationally recognised government that was toppled by the Yemeni rebel group.
Saudi Arabia offered a ceasefire proposal last week but the Iran-aligned Houthi group said it would only agree to it if an air and sea blockade were lifted as well.
Despite the offer, the Houthis have continued their drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia as well as a ground offensive on the gas-producing Yemeni region of Marib, which is still under the control of the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The coalition said on Tuesday it had destroyed two drones launched by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia, Saudi state TV reported.
On Friday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group had attacked facilities of state oil giant Saudi Aramco in Ras al-Tanura, Rabigh, Yanbu and Jazan.
The attacks took place during the latest visit of US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking and UN mediator Martin Griffiths to Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The Biden administration ended its support to Riyadh’s military campaign in February and dispatched Lenderking to the Middle East in an effort to find out a diplomatic solution to the conflict that has created the worst humanitarian disaster in the world with 80 percent of the population dependent on foreign aid.