Saudi-Backed Yemeni Government Blocking Houthi Plane from Reaching Peace Talks

A peace delegation from the Houthi movement to the UN-sponsored negotiations in Geneva to try and find an end to the Yemeni Civil War is being blocked from flying out of Yemen ‒ by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government they’re supposed to be negotiating with.

The UN Security Council gave their blessings on Wednesday to the negotiations, which are aimed at building confidence between the two sides: prisoner exchanges, humanitarian access, reopening Sana’a airport and various economic issues will be discussed, UN spokesperson Alessandra Vellucci told Reuters.

However, the Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV said the UN had been unable to “secure authorization” from the Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemeni government for an Omani plane to land in Sana’a and transport the rebel delegation, along with wounded fighters, out of the country.

In a statement on Yemen’s official SABA news agency Thursday, the Houthis said the Saudis are “still refusing to give permission to an Omani plane” to land. They said they need to “ensure the safety of the delegation” and require a guarantee that they would be allowed to return “smoothly” to the Sana’a airport.

While the Houthi rebels control the capital of Sana’a and most of the north of the country in terms of territory, the government’s coalition, which has the benefit of US-made warplanes flown by the Royal Saudi Air Force, dominates the skies over the entire country, France 24 noted.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, UN Special Envoy…

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