(MEMO) — Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman arrived in the US on Tuesday for an official visit during which he is expected to discuss the latest developments in Yemen with US officials.
Prince Khaled, the brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is supposed to meet with a number of officials to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common interest, promoting the security and stability of the region, according to Saudi Press Agency, SPA.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported that Prince Khaled’s visit coincided with the US President Donald Trump administration seeking to “launch secret direct negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis to put an end to the war in Yemen.”
“The negotiations are scheduled to take place in Oman,” the newspaper revealed. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet the Saudi Deputy Defence Secretary in an attempt to convince Saudi Arabia, leader of the Arab coalition, of the importance of diplomacy and negotiation to ensure a ceasefire in Yemen.”
For more than four years Yemen territory has been witnessing fierce battles taking place between Ansar Allah group (Houthis) and allied forces on the one hand, and the Yemeni army, backed by Arab and Islamic countries military alliance, led by Saudi Arabia.
The coalition and military forces loyal to President Hadi are seeking to recover areas held by Ansar Allah in January 2015.
Due to the ongoing military operations, Yemen is suffering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. According to UN data, hundreds of thousands of civilians and military staff have been killed and injured as a result of the conflict in Yemen. About 22 million people, standing for 75 per cent of the population, need humanitarian assistance and protection.