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Yemen's peace talks to start in Sweden next week: British envoy

Gulf Arab Region | 2018-11-29 12:01:00
Yemen's peace talks to start in Sweden next week: British envoy
U.N.-sponsored peace talks between Yemen's warring parties are expected to start next week in Sweden, Britain's envoy to Yemen said Thursday, as Western allies press for an end to the war that has pushed the country to the verge of starvation.

The United Nations is trying to reconvene talks between the Saudi-backed government led by Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-backed Houthis to agree a framework for peace and a transitional governing body. A previous round in Geneva collapsed in September when the Houthis failed to show up.

"The Sweden consultations led by the U.N. envoy will take place next week. I have booked my trip and looking forward to seeing you leading your delegation, the political solution is the way to move forward," Michael Aron, the Riyadh-based British ambassador to Yemen, tweeted to the Houthis' spokesman Mohammed Abdusalam.

A member of Hadi's delegation told Reuters Wednesday that the talks were due to be held on Dec. 4, but that the date could change "depending on logistics".

Martin Griffiths, the U.N. envoy to Yemen, visited the Houthi-held capital Sanaa this week where he met with the group's leaders. The U.N. humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, arrived in Sanaa on Thursday.

A spokeswoman declined to give an exact date for the talks.

"Preparations are ongoing as planned and we hope the consultations will convene in early December," she said.

The last U.N. attempt to convene the warring parties collapsed after the Houthis asked for guarantees from the U.N. that their plane would not be inspected. They also wanted to evacuate some of their wounded to Oman for treatment.

Saudi Arabia confirmed its willingness to evacuate 50 wounded Houthi fighters as a confidence-building measure, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Reuters this month.
Reuters
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