http://almashareq.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_am/newsbriefs/2019/08/28/newsbrief-05

US to open direct talks with Yemen Houthis: report

The US is preparing to open direct talks with the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) in a bid to end Yemen's war which has claimed thousands of lives, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (August 28th).

The proposed initiative, the first direct negotiations between Washington and the Houthis in over four years, comes as the militia has stepped up missile and drone attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, AFP reported.

"The US is looking to prod Saudi Arabia into taking part in secret talks in Oman with Houthi leaders in an effort to broker a ceasefire in Yemen," The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the plans.

The move could open the first significant channel between President Donald Trump's administration and the Houthis at a time when fears of a broader regional war are growing, the newspaper said.

The US negotiating team would be led by Christopher Henzel, a veteran diplomat who became the Trump administration’s first ambassador to Yemen in April, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi deputy defence minister and brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, arrived in Washington this week for talks with a number of US officials.

The Journal said he would meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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