Yemen talks in Riyadh must achieve peace, GCC says

Houthi rebels absent as consultations begin in Saudi Arabia

Pro-Houthi forces march in Sanaa as Saudi Arabia hosts Yemeni peace talks, which are being boycotted by the rebels. EPA
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Yemen’s political parties must engage in consultations in Riyadh to achieve peace, the GCC chief said as talks began in Saudi Arabia.

Consultations between Yemen’s different factions, which aim to pave the way for peace and revive UN-led talks, are being held with support from the GCC without representatives of the Houthi rebels.

“I call on all Yemeni parties to engage in consultations to achieve peace. We welcome the GCC's initiative to host Yemeni consultations, which represent a historic opportunity,” said GCC Secretary General Nayef Al Hajraf.

“The situation in Yemen is a source of deep concern and Yemenis have the right to aspire to a better future,” Mr Al Hajraf said as talks began.

The success of these consultations is not an option, but is rather a reality to be achieved, he said.

US envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking called on Yemen's warring sides to come together to end the eight-year war.

“Yemenis are living in difficult conditions and the international community must reduce their suffering. I call on donor states to help civilians,” he said.

Both sides urged to halt fighting

The UN on Wednesday welcomed moves to temporarily halt the conflict and urged the warring sides to engage “without preconditions” with UN-led peace efforts, a spokesman for the UN Secretary General said.

“We encourage all parties to build on these positive developments, which coincide with the arrival of Ramadan,” the spokesman said.

“We further hope that this creates momentum to end all violence, advance Yemen’s political process and alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, including by easing restrictions on movement of individuals and essential commodities, including fuel."

The Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthis has said it would halt military operations as of Wednesday after the Iran-backed group this week declared a three-day cessation of cross-border attacks and ground offensives in Yemen.

Updated: March 30, 2022, 10:46 AM