UN welcomes GCC initiative to hold Yemen talks

Consultations to end the war are expected to be held in Saudi Arabia later this month

Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, meets officials in Hodeidah on November 10, 2021. AFP
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The UN has welcomed an initiative led by the Gulf Co-operation Council to host Yemen talks in Saudi Arabia this month.

The consultations between members of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and representatives of the Houthi rebels are expected to take place in Riyadh from March 29 to April 7.

They will be aimed at reviving UN-led efforts to end the conflict.

“We appreciate all initiatives that support UN actions to reach an inclusive negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Yemen,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during a press conference on Sunday.

“In that context, we welcome the initiative announced by the GCC to host the parties to the conflict in Yemen for consultations in Riyadh in the coming weeks in support of the UN efforts,” Mr Dujarric said.

Yemen’s government has welcomed the push.

For more than a year, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have rejected attempts to relaunch peace talks led by the UN. Instead, they have focused on capturing the city of Marib to gain control over the northern half of Yemen.

UN special envoy Hans Grundberg met Houthi officials in Oman last week to discuss consultations and efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation arising from the conflict, the UN said.

Discussions included a possible truce during the holy month of Ramadan, it said.

Yemen has been in a state of stalemate since the government was removed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

They took over the capital, Sanaa in 2014, triggering a civil war.

Efforts to end the conflict have failed owing to a lack of trust between the warring sides.

Rounds of UN talks were held in Geneva and Sweden and led to the Stockholm Agreement in 2018.

It was put in place to secure the Red Sea port of Hodeidah and to avoid a major military confrontation in the city.

Updated: March 20, 2022, 2:27 PM
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