Russian-Houthi meeting in Muscat


Wed, 03-07-2024 07:40 PM, Aden

Muscat (South24)

A diplomatic meeting was held on Tuesday between a senior Russian official and the political team of the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi group in the Omani capital, Muscat.

In a post on the X platform, the Russian Embassy in Yemen said that Mikhail Bogdanov, the Special Representative of the Russian President to the Middle East and Africa, received a Houthi delegation headed by their chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdul Salam.

According to the post, Bogdanov, who also serves as Deputy Foreign Minister, discussed with the delegation the comprehensive settlement of the ongoing nine-year military and political crisis in Yemen.

The embassy described the talks as "substantive and in-depth."

It stressed the importance of increasing international efforts to quickly create the necessary conditions for establishing a broad national dialogue among Yemenis under United Nations (UN) auspices.

Special attention was also paid to the dynamics of the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone and the worsening situation in the Red Sea, according to the statement.

The embassy added: "In this context, the ongoing US and UK airstrikes on Yemen in violation of the UN Charter were strongly condemned."

The official spokesman for the Houthis, Mohammed Abdul Salam, said on X that they had discussed with Bogdanov the necessity of stopping the Israeli war on Gaza and halting the US-UK airstrikes on Yemen.

"Our operations in the Red Sea were discussed, and they do not represent a threat to international navigation or target anyone," he said.

The Houthi official thanked the recent Russian position of abstaining from voting in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 2739, which again called on the Houthis to suspend attacks against commercial ships and threaten international navigation.

Abdul Salam pointed out that the talks also touched on "the consequences of the situation of de-escalation between Yemen and the countries of aggression," in reference to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The meeting came as a new round of negotiations began on Sunday between the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Houthi group in Muscat regarding prisoners and pre-war detainees.

The head of media and strategic communication for the office of the UN Envoy to Yemen, Mai Al-Sheikh, told South24 Center that the round of talks “is taking place in a positive and constructive atmosphere so far.”

"The parties reached an understanding on procedures to release detainees in connection with the conflict, including Mohammed Qahtan," she added.

Al-Sheikh stressed the importance of completing the negotiations in a spirit of responsibility to achieve tangible results by releasing all detainees in connection with the conflict, in accordance with the all-for-all principle.

In confirmation of what was published by the 'South24 Center', the head of the Houthi delegation in the prisoner exchange negotiations, Abdulqader Mortda, announced that they would release Mohammed Qahtan.

He said in a statement released by the Houthi-affiliated Saba Agency: “Mohammed Qahtan will be released in exchange for 50 of our prisoners, and if he is dead, his body will be handed over in exchange for the other party handing over 50 bodies.”

Mohammed Qahtan is a senior official in the Yemeni Islah Party who has been detained by the Houthis since 2015. There are doubts about the possibility of his death in poor health conditions in Houthi prisons.

The spokesman for the government negotiating team, Maged Fadail, confirmed that Mohammed Qahtan would be released in exchange for 50 Houthi prisoners.

South24 Center

YemenPrisoner exchangeHouthisMohammed QahtanIslahUN EnvoyAirstrikesMohammed Abdulsalam