Surprising developments… An imminent peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis, and these are its most important provisions
Payment of employee salaries according to the 2014 statements
- Stopping the Houthi threats to Saudi lands
- Establishing a buffer zone with areas controlled by the Houthis
- Distribution of oil revenues according to the pre-war budget
- Opening all airports and ports under Houthi control
The Yemeni file is witnessing an accelerating movement that, this time, exceeds the international and regional efforts exerted to return to extending the armistice agreement more than three months after it ended on October 2, as the talk returns about negotiations behind closed doors between the Saudis and the Houthis to reach a new settlement that will be its final form. Subject to ongoing discussions between the two parties.
The Associated Press, quoting Yemeni, Saudi and UN officials, revealed that Saudi Arabia and the Houthis have revived talks between them, hoping to consolidate the unofficial cease-fire that has been going on for more than 9 months, and to set a path for negotiation to end the war in Yemen.
This was preceded by the arrival of the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, on Monday, to Sana’a to meet the leaders of the Houthis, a day after the departure of the Omani delegation, which concluded its second visit in less than a month to the Yemeni capital. It was remarkable that Grundberg, who left Sana’a, presented his periodic briefing to the Security Council for the first time from Sana’a, amid the Houthis’ optimism in achieving progress in the humanitarian negotiation files, which are described as Houthi conditions for extending the armistice.
The Associated Press quoted a UN official, who spoke to her on condition of anonymity, saying that these talks are an opportunity to end the war if the two sides negotiate in good faith and other Yemeni parties are included in the talks. According to the UN official, Saudi Arabia has developed a phased road map for a settlement, which has been endorsed by the United States and the United Nations. He also indicated that the Riyadh-led coalition made a number of major promises, including reopening the airport in Sanaa and easing the siege imposed on the city of Hodeidah.-
For his part, a Saudi diplomat, who spoke to the agency, pointed out that his country had asked China and Russia to put pressure on Iran and the Houthis to avoid escalation, and confirmed that Iran, which the Houthis and Omanis regularly briefed on the talks, had so far supported the unannounced truce. The Houthis demand that the coalition pay the salaries of all state employees, including the military, from oil and gas revenues, in addition to opening all airports and ports under their control.
A Houthi official involved in the deliberations said the Saudis promised to pay all salaries. However, the Saudi diplomat made it clear that the payment of salaries is conditional on the Houthis accepting security guarantees, including the establishment of a buffer zone with Houthi-controlled areas along the Saudi-Yemeni border.
The Saudi diplomat noted that the Houthis must also lift their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, and stressed that the Saudis also want the Houthis to commit to joining formal talks with other Yemeni parties. The Saudi diplomat confirmed that the two sides are working with Omani officials to develop the proposal to be satisfactory to all parties, including other Yemeni parties.
But the Houthi official said that his group did not accept parts of the Saudi proposal, especially the security guarantees, and also refuses to resume oil exports from government-controlled areas before salaries are paid. The Houthis suggested, according to the same official, that the oil revenues be distributed according to the pre-war budget, which means that the Houthi-controlled areas receive up to 80 percent of the revenues because they are the most densely populated.
Meanwhile, the Houthis revealed that the Omani delegation, which visited Sana’a for five consecutive days, carried “positive ideas.” The head of the Houthi Council, Mahdi Al-Mashat, pointed out, during his meeting with members of the Supreme Council and leaders of the Sana’a government, that these ideas “are related to the humanitarian file, foremost of which is the payment of salaries to all state employees from oil and gas revenues, the full opening of Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeidah, the opening of roads and the exchange of prisoners.” Referring to the content of the new agreement that is being prepared to extend the armistice.