(Photo credit: Al-Syasiah)
The Minister of State in Yemen’s National Salvation Government (NSG) in Sanaa, Abdulaziz al-Bakeer, announced in a statement via Twitter that the UAE is preparing a delegation in order to launch direct negotiations with the NSG, which is affiliated with the Ansarallah resistance movement.
“The UAE is preparing its delegation for direct dialogue with Sanaa in order to finally establish the peace and regional shift that has been brought about by the steadfastness of the Yemeni people [and its resistance],” Bakeer said.
“The Saudi-led war on Yemen has ended, and the humanitarian conditions and delivery of salaries have been agreed upon, and the extension of the truce agreement will be announced soon.”
A day earlier, on 12 March, Yemeni journalist Fouad al-Junaid claimed that there was an Emirati endeavor to open channels of communication with the Sanaa government.
“For this purpose, a high-ranking diplomatic delegation is being prepared to be sent to Sanaa to discuss the mechanism for opening these political channels,” Junaid said.
So far, there has been no comment from the UAE regarding these statements.
Just a few days ago, the UAE-backed separatist administration in Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council (STC), expressed concern over the Omani-mediated talks between Saudi Arabia and Ansarallah, which have resulted in some progress.
As a result of these talks, Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to the NSG’s terms, which include eventually lifting the blockade on the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa International Airport, as well as paying the salaries of government employees in the NSG’s territory, which have not been paid since 2016. No official Saudi statement has been made in this regard.
However, UK-based Libyan-Emirati newspaper, Al-Arab, released a report on 9 March stating that an extension of the truce agreement may be announced during the upcoming month of Ramadan. According to sources cited by Al-Arab, the truce extension, “this time will be according to the specifications of a comprehensive peace agreement, not just a cease-fire agreement,” and will last for one year.
Coinciding with this report, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said that Saudi Arabia’s priority is the ceasefire. Analysts suggest that Saudi Arabia has become more serious in regards to reaching a solution, given that the war has become highly costly for it.
Dialogue with the UAE, however, is expected to pose more of a difficulty.
According to some, the UAE wishes to benefit from a maintained state of conflict in Yemen in order to keep controlling the country’s strategic ports and waterways through the STC, as well as the islands surrounding Yemen – such as the Socotra archipelago and the island of Mayyun in the Bab al-Mandab strait. Any Yemeni-Emirati negotiations must depend on the UAE’s willingness to make concessions on such issues.
According to an exclusive by The Cradle written by Lebanese journalist Hassan Illaik, Abu Dhabi and Washington have “furiously sought to undermine” the understanding reached between Saudi Arabia and Ansarallah in order “to prevent a resolution of the Yemen war.”