Yemen Peace Talks Set To Begin In Sweden

United Nations Set To Begin Peace Negotiations UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending nearly four years of civil war in Yemen are due to begin in Sweden. A UN...

United Nations Set To Begin Peace Negotiations

UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending nearly four years of civil war in Yemen are due to begin in Sweden. A UN team will work alongside delegations from the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels at Johannesberg’s castle outside Stockholm to enable informal talks due to last a week.

The war has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in recent times. Thousands of people have died in fighting and millions have been pushed to the brink of starvation.

Consultations are resuming for the first time since 2016. The last attempt at a negotiated peace collapsed in September when the Houthis failed to show up in Geneva.

The latest talks are not expected to deliver a breakthrough. Correspondents say the key aim of this round is to prevent an all-out battle for the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hudaydah where thousands of civilians are trapped.

The UN also hopes to come up with a framework for talks on what a future political solution in Yemen will look like. Officials said the talks – which are expected to last a week – would be informal, through working groups.

Hours before talks were due, the Yemeni authorities demanded on Twitter that the rebels withdraw from Hudaydah and hand control back to the government.

Meanwhile, a top Houthi rebel has threatened to stop UN planes from accessing the main airport in Sanaa unless the talks lead to its full opening for all passenger flights. The airport has been closed for two years due to the fighting.

The Houthis currently control the capital Sanaa and many populated areas, while the ousted government is based in the southern city of Aden. In the build-up to the talks, UN special envoy Martin Griffiths successfully negotiated the evacuation of 50 wounded Houthis to Oman for treatment.

Writing for the New York Times on Thursday, he said the talks offered a “glimmer of hope” and there would be a formal announcement on a prisoner swap – the first of its kind since the conflict began.

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