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Yemen's Houthi delegation arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks: Sources

Ahmed Eleiba , Tuesday 8 Mar 2016
Yemen conflict
File Photo: Yemenis inspect the damage after a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an area where security forces and pro-government militiamen had assembled on February 29, 2016 (Photo: AFP)
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A Houthi delegation has arrived in the Saudi city of Abha for talks with Saudi security officials on Monday, Yemeni sources told Ahram Online.

According to the sources, the Saudi officials who met with Houthi representatives are neither responsible for leading the military operation in Yemen nor involved in the conflict settlement process, adding that the militants demanded direct talks with Saudi leaders.

The sources, speaking anonymously to Ahram Online from Riyadh, Dubai, and Aden, stated that Saudi Arabia has not yet reached a decision regarding the Houthi demand, especially as the former lacks trust in both the Houthis and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Saudi-led coalition along with fighters loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi are battling Houthi militias and loyalists of the country's former leader Saleh in a war that has drawn on for a year and resulted in the death of over 6,000.

One of the sources revealed that the leading Houthi figure Mohamed Abdel Salam is heading the delegation to Saudi Arabia, pointing out that Houthi forces have released a Saudi hostage without prior negotiations and without the return of any Houthis currently detained by Saudi authorities.

Another source stated that talks of a settlement this time around will be based on a Saudi plan, which stipulates that Saleh's troops and the Houthis will give up their control over Sanaa.

The source added that many details are yet to be examined, especially those related to the future of Saleh's party and the issue of the military that should supposedly undergo restructuring.

According to the sources, such development is related to the "state of attrition" that Saleh's troops and the Houthis are suffering from.

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