By Ahmed al-Masri
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Muscat on Monday to discuss the raging conflict in war-torn Yemen with Omani officials.
During his two-day visit, Kerry will meet with a host of Omani officials with whom he will discuss possible means of defusing the two-year conflict, official Omani news agency ONA reported.
Kerry is also slated to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday as part of a regional tour, according to ONA.
The visits to the region will be among Kerry’s last as secretary of state before U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration ends in January to make way for that of President-elect Donald Trump.
Kerry has continued to push for a settlement of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which fell into civil war in late 2014 when Shia Houthi militiamen overran capital Sanaa and a number of other provinces.
The conflict escalated in March of last year when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a major air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and propping up the country’s Saudi-backed government.
Sources close to the Houthis told Anadolu Agency earlier that Kerry planned hold talks with senior Houthi negotiator Mohamed Abdel-Salam in Muscat.
According to the same sources, talks are expected to tackle a proposed UN roadmap for resolving the conflict in Yemen and the fate of American nationals held by the Shia group.
Last month, UN mediator Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the proposed peace plan calls for a new Yemeni vice-president and a national unity government that would preside over a transitional period and eventual elections.
Nearly 7,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict -- more than half of them civilians -- while another three million are estimated to have been displaced amid widespread malnutrition and disease.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.