A new round of talks in Yemen this week, after eight years of a brutal civil war in which hundreds of people have died from violence and starvation has given rise to a small glimmer hope that a breakthrough can be made in one of the world's most severe humanitarian crises.
There is no difference between the negotiations of today and those of the past. Some analysts are concerned that the talks could merely be the beginning of a new phase of a high-class war. Years ago, the rivals fought a proxy war that worsened their conflict, which led to more than 350,000 deaths, many of them due to starvation in the country, already the poorest one within the region. The latest talks between Iran & Saudi Arabia have generated optimism.
In recent months, the fighting in Yemen was relatively quiet. However, a ceasefire expired in October. Peace talks have been mediated by Oman. However, these conferences continued without a clear end in sight until this month.
Hans Grundberg is the United Nations' envoy to Yemen. He told The Related Press that this could be "the closest Yemen has ever been in terms of actual progress towards lasting peace."
In Yemen's Sana capital, Saudi Arabia, which led a coalition of navy forces that intervened there in 2015, and the Houthis -- Iran-backed rebels in Yemen's northwest and capital -- are all present in the negotiations.
In 2014, Houthi fighters invaded Sana from northern Yemen and displaced the internationally recognized authorities. The Houthi-run SABA Information Company released images on Sunday of Omani, Saudi and other delegations meeting with Mahdi Al-Mashat the head of the Houthis Supreme Political Council.
Mohammed al-Bukhaiti wrote on Twitter, Sunday, that a climate of peace was prevailing in the region, which encouraged optimism and hope.
In an interview with Mr. al Bukhaiti, he stated that "in contrast to earlier instances, we felt earnestness from Saudi Arabia."
He said he was in Sana to discuss a'stabilization of the truce and the cease-fire', and 'discovering venues for dialogue' which could lead to a complete solution for the nation.
Nadwa al-Dawsari is a nonresident scholar at the Center East Institute. She said that the Yemeni presidential management council, which supervises internationally recognized authorities, has been largely excluded.
Rapid goals are essential. Al-Bukhaiti said that the negotiation is aiming to restore a ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Yemen.
Negotiators must also pave the way for wider talks in order to end Yemen's complex political conflict and rebuild its financial system.
Saudi Arabia would most likely convince its Yemeni allies to provide wage funds for Yemeni Civil servants who have been unpaid for years, and are often the main breadwinners for their families. This will put a strain on the humanitarian aid businesses that are already struggling to feed hundreds of thousands hungry Yemenis.
A deal could also open up additional flights from Sana Airport, allowing hundreds of people to travel for life-saving medical treatment, and lift restrictions on ports. This would allow more important items to be available and ease inflation. This could also allow for the resume of Yemeni oil imports.
Al-Bukhaiti said that some of these points were agreed on in principle during earlier talks in Oman. He said that a mechanism for implementation could be being developed.
Yemen's war goes beyond the conflict between the Saudi-led alliance and the Houthis. However, a deal would give legitimacy to the Houthis if it were reached between the two teams. .
Al-Dawsari said that the Houthis would not give up their desire to rule Yemen. Yemen was already the poorest Arab country before the war. Yemen was already the poorest Arab nation before the war.
According to the United Nations, around 24 million people -- or 80 percent of Yemeni residents -- need humanitarian assistance. Thousands of people have also been displaced.
The majority of deaths, primarily due to starvation, were among younger children. According to a United Nations report, more than 11,000 children have been killed or injured in Yemen's conflict. Although the battle is more than just a proxy war, the tensions between Saudi Arabia - which has repeatedly been accused of providing weapons to the Houthis - and Iran have played a major role. Saudi Arabia has now cultivated closer ties with Iran to help ease tensions in the region.
Mr. Nagi said that both Riyadh, and Tehran were eager to demonstrate their diplomatic efforts had been instrumental in bringing peace to Yemen. They must succeed in this endeavor.
Saudi officers want to end their involvement in Yemen's navy, as it has cost the country a lot and damaged its reputation around the world. The talks will not bring peace or prosperity to Yemen. Analysts in Yemen say that a political decision cannot be implemented without the support of the Yemenis.
Yemenis face structural violence, a financial system in disarray, and corruption. They also have to contend with a fractured society and multiple armed groups vying for power. Even the most basic institutions are divided, with two central bankers and currencies that are managed by different people. This raises questions about how civil servants will be paid and what currency they should use.
'It seems the Saudis are in haste to reach a deal without giving much time to discuss these important details, which could create crucial divisions later,' said Mr. Nagi.