U.S. Newspaper: Washington plans to start direct talks with Houthis in Oman

U.S. Newspaper: Washington plans to start direct talks with Houthis in Oman

The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States plans to begin direct talks with the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

According to WSJ Washington is looking to push Saudi Arabia to participate in secret talks in Oman.

The paper notes that President Donald Trump's administration is preparing for direct talks with the Houthis to stop the four-year war, turning into a front for conflict, according to people with knowledge of U.S. plans.

According to the report, the United States wants to push Saudi Arabia to participate in talks with Houthi leaders in order to reach a ceasefire in Yemen, noting that this initiative may have opened channels of communication between the Trump administration and the Houthis, at a time of growing fears of a large-scale war.

The newspaper draws attention to a meeting of U.S. officials in 2015, and after the outbreak of the war with Houthi envoys, where the Obama administration in the Oman meeting tried to push toward a cease-fire, and the release of Americans arrested by the Houthis, noting that U.S. officials met with leaders of Houthi movement during talks held in Sweden at the end of last year under the auspices of the United Nations.

The report notes that direct and distinguished talks have not taken place between the Trump administration and the Houthi movement since Trump entered the White House in 2017, noting that the conflict in Yemen has turned into a series of domestic conflicts and regional and international rivalry between the United States and Iran that support the Houthi forces. against the Saudi-led coalition backed by Washington.

The newspaper says that the U.S. administration treats the Houthis as a proxy movement for Iran, which says it is responsible for missile strikes and drones flying from Yemen towards targets in Saudi Arabia, noting that leaders of the two parties in Washington met in a rare consensus on the need to stop the war In Yemen, given the humanitarian cost it has led to, it has raised concerns in both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi that they are losing the necessary support within Congress.

The report notes that the administration has softened its limited support for the Saudi coalition accused of recklessly killing Yemeni civilians, under pressure from U.S. lawmakers, and in April Trump vetoed a congressional resolution calling on him to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The paper shows that while Congress has failed to repeal the president's veto, lawmakers from both parties believe that the Yemen war has become a serious issue affecting relations between the two countries.

According to the Report, according to the "Armed Confederate Strategy in Event Data" program, 90,000 people have been killed in the war since the beginning, pointing out that the United Nations says Yemen is the center of the biggest humanitarian crisis, while famine and cholera threaten millions of Yemenis.

The newspaper says the humanitarian situation in Yemen has deteriorated dramatically over the past few weeks, creating a new state of emergency and the need for diplomatic efforts to stop the war.

The report noted that the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia's most important ally, has begun withdrawing its troops from Yemen, noting that forces loyal to the UAE this month took control of Aden, the seat of the Saudi-backed legitimate government, creating a crisis between the two allies.

The paper argues that the UAE's withdrawal of its forces and the capture of Aden prompted America to work to build diplomatic momentum, including plans to negotiate directly with the Houthis, noting that the U.S. talks will be led by veteran diplomat Christopher Henzel, who became U.S. ambassador to Yemen in April.

The report finds that Trump's emerging plan faces new hurdles after the Houthis appointed their ambassador to Iran last week, and the appointment and public meeting with the Iranian leadership were seen as an attempt by opponents of peace in the movement to block efforts.

The newspaper quoted people familiar with the situation, saying that the Saudi-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, is seen in world capitals as an obstacle to the talks, while the main players try to find ways to marginalize Hadi in order to push the peace talks, pointing out that there are concerns in Washington on Saudi Arabia's seriousness in stopping the war.

The report reveals that U.S. officials are planning to meet with Saudi officials in Washington to talk to them about the importance of adopting the diplomatic option, noting that Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, brother of the crown prince, will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

The newspaper states that the Foreign Ministry refused to talk about private talks, and its spokesman confirmed that the U.S. ambassador to Yemen talks with all Yemenis to achieve the goals of the United States in the country, pointing out that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia issued on Monday a joint statement to deny the existence of differences between them in Yemen.

The report notes that the United States has tried in the past to find a reliable intermediary capable of brokering the authority of the Houthi leadership, noting that one of the figures contacted is Mohammed Abdul Salam, a spokesman for the Houthis, with whom the Americans have been contacted over the past years.

The newspaper believes that the back channels are sure to include a series of concessions and confidence-building, pointing out that Washington discussed at length how to deal with the Houthi movement, and some White House officials discussed the importance of classifying it as a terrorist movement, while others said that this action will kill the peace process supervised by the United Nations.

The Wall Street Journal concludes its report by saying that the Houthi movement appears to be divided between war advocates and those who want to stop it.


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