Saudi Arabia and UAE talk military co-operation after Yemen rebel truce offer


Top officials from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, key players in a coalition fighting Yemeni rebels, have discussed military co-operation following a positive response by Riyadh to a truce offer from the insurgents.

Saudi's deputy defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in the UAE capital to discuss "coordination and joint action in defence and military affairs", Emirati state news agency WAM reported on Monday.

The two officials, who spoke late on Sunday, also discussed the "challenges" facing the Gulf region and "their implications on the security" of the region, WAM said.

Last week, Prince Khalid said on Twitter that a truce offer made last month by Yemen's Houthi rebels was "perceived positively" by the kingdom and hoped it would be "implemented effectively".

Since 2015, Riyadh has led a military coalition in support of Yemen's internationally recognised government against the Iran-backed Houthis.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, according to humanitarian organisations and left Yemen faced with what the UN terms the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Houthis offered to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia as part of a peace initiative to end the devastating conflict, later repeating their proposal despite continued air strikes from the Saudi-led coalition.

The offer came after the Houthis claimed responsibility for attacks on 14 September against two key Saudi oil installations that temporarily knocked out half of the OPEC giant's production.

Riyadh and Washington, however, blamed Iran for the attacks - a charge denied by Tehran.    (AFP)

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