Home PodcastAshraf Garda China brokered Saudi-Houthi talks bring hope of peace

China brokered Saudi-Houthi talks bring hope of peace

by Luqmaan Rawat

Yemen – After more than seven years of hostilities, the Saudi war in Yemen is on the brink of coming to an end. A Saudi and Omani delegation were in Yemen’s capital on Sunday to negotiate what could be a truce with Iran-backed Houthi rebels. While that is taking place, Saudi has already lifted various restrictions placed on the Houthi government.

The eight-year-old restriction placed on imports headed for Yemen’s southern port has been lifted. The announcement is a good sign which indicates the peace talks are progressing well. Furthermore, over the past few weeks there have been a release of prisoners and the truce that was negotiated by the United Nations, which ended in October, is looking to be made permanent, said Na’eem Jeenah, Executive Director at The Afro-Middle East Centre.

“The port of Aden is being reopened and Saudis are not insisting that ships must dock in Saudi Arabia to first be checked. This will have a huge impact on what is regarded by the UN and others as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. These ports reopening means aid can flow in more easily, quickly and be distributed more quickly.”


The peace talks brokered by China 

The UN mediated truce started in October 2021 and ended in October 2022. Since then the fighting hasn’t resumed full scale. While there was an Iraqi process for peace going on for almost a year, China was the one that, uncharacteristically, brokered the peace between these two nations, said Jeenah.

“The development that has made the change that we’re seeing now is the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran that was brokered by China, signed in China. It was last week when Iranian and Saudi delegations went again to China to talk about how the agreement would be moved forward … The situation in Yemen that we’re seeing now comes, in a sense, directly out of that Chinese-mediated agreement about a month ago.”

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Peace because of oil

The peace meeting in China took place just a few weeks after Chinese president, Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia. A long term oil contract between the two nations was discussed during this visit. It is because of this oil contract that peace was actually brokered.

“The relationship between China and Iran at an economic and political level is very strong. The China-Saudi relationship has been basically economic as it is with China and most other countries … With China wanting to conclude a long-term oil purchasing deal from Saudi Arabia, it’s not entirely smart to have a deal with a regional power when it’s in an ongoing confrontation with another regional power. A long term deal could be jeopardised by war.”

Many are hopeful that the war which has claimed more than 150 000 lives as well as destroyed countless more lives will finally be over. The population of Yemen has been “reduced both physically and psychologically”. With peace talks ongoing and restrictions being lifted, there is much hope the war in Yemen will come to an end.

To hear more from Na’eem Jeenah on the war in Yemen and its impact on its people, listen to the podcast here:

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