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Riyadh hopes for broader peace talks in Yemen

November 20, 2019 at 8:00 pm

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) and his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced that they were seeking a political settlement in Yemen and hoped the recent agreement signed in Riyadh would take the lead for broader peace talks, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to the Saudi Arabia News Agency (SPA), King Salman speaking to the Shoura Council at the annual address said the deal between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) will lead to a more extensive political settlement in Yemen.

The Yemeni government and the United Arab Emirates-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) signed a deal earlier this month to end the conflict over several southern cities, including Aden.

The agreement states that STC shares half of portfolios of the Cabinet that should not exceed 24 ministers and ensures its participation in the government delegation for consultations on the final political solution with Houthis rebel group.

READ: Yemen’s Houthis release captured S.Korean, Saudi vessels

The deal also states that all forces that moved toward Aden, Abyan and Shabwah since the beginning of August will return to their bases and be replaced by local security forces within 15 days.

“We hope that the Riyadh Agreement will open the door to a wider agreement to reach a political solution to the Yemen crisis and provide a future opportunity for the security, stability and development of the Yemeni people,” King Salman said.

As for Iran, King Salman said he hoped the Iranian regime would realize that there was no other way forward but to abandon its destructive and expansionist ideas.

Stressing that Saudi Arabia does not want war and is always on the side of peace, King Salman said that he was ready to defend his country against any attack.

Stating that his country has suffered from “the policies, practices and collaborators working on behalf of the Iranian regime”, King Salman said that Iran’s recent systematic and deliberate actions to undermine peace and security opportunities in the region have reached its peak.

King Salman stated that national oil firm Saudi Aramco’s public offering will create business opportunities and attract foreign investors.

He said that his country’s oil policy aims to ensure stability in the global oil markets and to serve the producer and the consumer at the same time.

READ: Saudi princess under house arrest for wanting reforms

Referring to the role of women in the local economy in Saudi Arabia, he said that  they will continue their efforts to increase women’s participation in the public and private sectors.

The participation rate increased from 19.4% in 2017 to 23.2% in the second half of 2019.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including numerous civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, while another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.