US in negotiation with Houthis of Yemen
For the first time, an American official has confirmed that the United States has had negotiations with Iran’s Shia proxy group, Houthis of Yemen, and the talks are ongoing.
According to France News Agency, Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker has confirmed: "We are having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually acceptable negotiated solution to the conflict.”
In a speech on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, Schenker said: “We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen.”
He also confirmed that the United States has been in contact and cooperation with the UN and Saudi officials regarding the matter.
Houthis currently control large parts of Yemen, including the capital of the country, Sanaa. But this is the first time that talks between the representatives of the United States and Houthis have been confirmed. Since March of 2015, the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has entered a war with Houthis to return the UN-recognized president of Yemen, Mansour Hadi to power.
A Houthi spokesman told France News Agency that they neither confirm nor deny talks with the United States. But "That the United States says they are talking to us is a great victory for us and proves that we are right," he said.
The Iranian-backed Houthi Shia group started their military skirmishes in September of 2014. They finally succeeded in taking control of the capital and overthrowing the government of Hadi in January of 2015.
Tens of thousands have died in the war in Yemen since and many have lost their lives due to disease and drought.