Kerry in Oman for Yemen peace talks
MUSCAT // US secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Muscat on Monday for talks on efforts to end Yemen’s conflict.
Mr Kerry and Oman’s foreign minister Yusuf bin Alawi discussed the “peaceful and humanitarian role played by the sultanate in Yemen,” Oman News Agency reported.
Mr Kerry is also expected to meet ruler Sultan Qaboos, in one of his last trips as secretary of state before President Barack Obama’s administration ends on January 20.
Mr Kerry has been pushing for a settlement of Yemen’s deadly conflict, which started after Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.
A Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, intervened to support the internationally-recognised government against the rebels in March 2015.
Oman, one of the few Arab states which have good relations with Iran, has used its links to mediate peace talks between the insurgents and Yemen’s president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.
It is also the only Arab nation in the Gulf that is not part of the Saudi-led coalition, although it maintains good relations with Saudi Arabia.
More than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded in the conflict and the UN says millions are in need of food aid.
On Monday, 12 civilians, including a child, were killed in an air raid that targeted a convoy of three lorries in the central Ibb province, while nine rebels were killed in an ambush in the same region, military and medical sources said.
Five other rebels, three soldiers and one civilian were killed Sunday in renewed violence in the southwestern Taez province, military sources said.
After Oman, Mr Kerry will travel to Abu Dhabi for talks on regional conflicts, including Syria.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: November 14, 2016 04:00 AM