Houthi rebels in Yemen have announced a pause in their drone and missile attacks against a coalition force of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their allies.

They say they're ready for a broader ceasefire if the Saudi-led coalition is prepared for peace.

For its part, the coalition briefly paused its air raids on the vital port city of Hodeidah, but then resumed them on Sunday in an apparent bid to gain more military advantage before peace talks, which are due to be held in Sweden by the end of the year.

The United Nations is confident that all parties to the conflict will take part in those talks, probably because now the United States has stepped up its engagement and demanded, in the words of defence Secretary James Mattis, that the "conflict be replaced by compromise".

All this comes at a time of international outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul last month.

In the US Congress, voices critical of the administration's close ties to Saudi Arabia have grown louder, increasing pressure on President Donald Trump to rethink his relationship with the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

So, after three years of war, could this be a pivotal moment for Yemen?  And why is the US stepping up its pressure now?

 

Presenter: Martine Dennis

Guests:

Nabeel Khoury - former US deputy chief of mission in Yemen

Helen Lackner - associate researcher at London Middle East School, SOAS, University of London

Elisabeth Kendall - senior research fellow at Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Source: Al Jazeera News