Despite Yemen violence spike, Saudi says talks with Houthis progressing

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday that Riyadh was still committed to back-channel peace talks with Yemen’s Houthi rebels, despite a recent increase in violence in the five-year conflict, as reported by Reuters.
Yemen has been mired in fighting since the Iran-backed Houthi movement ousted the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital in late 2014.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 to try to restore him. The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its regional foe, Shia Muslim Iran.
The United Nations has been trying to re-launch political negotiations to end the war and, separately, Riyadh has been holding informal talks with the Houthis since late September about de-escalation.
“We have a back channel and it’s not yet ready to move to the highest level,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told the Munich Security Conference.
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“It’s making progress. We have seen some deterioration recently, but we are committed to moving it forward,” he added, referring to a recent rise in military activity by the Iran-backed rebels.
After a lull in hostilities in recent months …

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