UN: Yemen foes begin direct talks to resolve key issues


Kuwait City / AFP

Yemen’s warring parties began face-to-face peace talks on Saturday on “key issues” in a bid to end the conflict in the impoverished Arab country, the United Nations said.
“All delegations are present. Key issues will be addressed,” Charbel Raji, spokesman for Yemen’s UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said about the negotiations taking place in Kuwait.
Most of the meetings in talks which began April 21 have so far been confined to encounters between rival delegations Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
More than 6,800 people have been killed and around 2.8 million displaced in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition began operations in March 2015 against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who seized swathes of territory including the capital Sanaa.
Key issues to navigate include the withdrawal of armed groups, a handover of heavy weapons, the resumption of a political transition and the release of prisoners.
The new phase of meetings comes after the government and rebel delegations each submitted a framework for a political and security solution to end the 13-month war.
No details were available on the content of the proposals, but the government delegation in Kuwait said its is based on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
The resolution states that the rebels must withdraw from seized territories and disarm before talks can progress.
The rebel-controlled sabanews.net website reported that a “new phase in the negotiations begins on Saturday, which would truly test the positions of the United Nations and international community” in the search for peace.

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