Military Capabilities

Saudi and Houthi willingness to start peace talks reflects both sides’ need to end war in Yemen

16 February 2018

Key Points

  • The outgoing United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced on 9 February that Oman had agreed to host a new round of peace talks, following a meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi.
  • While Saudi Arabia has been trying to find an exit strategy to end its military engagement in Yemen since 2016, the Houthi Movement’s growing openness to sitting at the negotiating table reflects its weakened and isolated state after a three-year-long conflict.
  • There is a risk that the military wing of the Houthi Movement will seek to sabotage the talks before they even begin by stepping up its campaign against Saudi Arabia, most likely by further ballistic missile attacks on high-value infrastructure targets or population centres.


The spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, signalled on 13 February the coalition’s readiness to join the peace talks on the ongoing three-year civil war. Oman has already indicated that it is ready to host the peace talks on Yemen, although no date has been specified yet.

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