Hope grows for peace in Yemen

Hope grows for peace in Yemen

"The (UN special envoy) would like to announce the restart of the intra-Yemeni political process in Sweden on 6 December 2018", UN envoy Martin Griffiths' office tweeted. The government delegation and the head of the rebel delegation were heading to Sweden on Wednesday.

This round of meetings has been focused on building confidence among the warring parties, with pre-talk measures that included a prisoner swap agreement and the evacuation of wounded rebels for medical treatment.

"It's not much, but given the humanitarian situation and toxic political atmosphere now prevalent in Yemen, it's better than nothing".

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2014 when Shiite Houthi rebels launched a campaign to capture the capital, Sanaa.

The other main route in and out of Houthi territory is the Sanaa airport, but access is restricted by the Saudi-led coalition which controls the air space.

The Saudi-led group has conducted thousands of airstrikes, hitting schools, hospitals and wedding parties in what critics call reckless bombardment.

The fighting in Yemen has generated the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The U.N. envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said the "coming days are a milestone".

"I've heard many say that this is a country on the brink of catastrophe", Beasley said. The meeting is the latest attempt to end a civil war that has ravaged the country and brought it to the brink of starvation. "This is a country that is in a catastrophe".

Despite Trump's tariffs, USA trade deficit at 10-year high
Growth in imports for November slowed sharply to 3.0 percent from a 21.4 jump in October, and far missed analysts' forecast of 14.5 percent.

Outrage over the October 2 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate has also undermined Western support for Riyadh's regional activities. The United States has called for a cease-fire and reduced some of its logistical aid for the coalition.

"We came here with the intention that these talks would succeed", Issam told AFP.

But previous peace efforts have failed, with neither side willing to compromise. Griffiths, flanked by the two delegations, told them not to waiver. Saudi Arabia has come under heavy USA pressure since the killing of Khashoggi, and the Houthis are under intense financial strain.

A United Nations source said that the two sides were still far from agreement on the three issues, especially on who should manage Hodeidah port and whether the Houthis should entirely quit the city.

Currently, representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels are meeting after three years of civil war in a village close to Stockholm.

The UN Special Envoy also highlighted that the calls made by leaders from both parties in recent weeks for reduction of violence and "de-escalation" of military operations, have formed an important backdrop for bringing the two sides together.

"Yemen today is a living hell for millions of children. there is only one message to those who are gathering today in Sweden". At the Moment, but it is still not far-reaching peace negotiations, but "consultations", said Griffiths.

Hodeida is on the agenda at the talks, slated to run for one week. The Yemeni government is demanding the rebels withdraw. "They believe they have a powerful card there". "Maybe there'll be some more exchange of prisoners or some progress on the economy, but I don't think the Houthis will leave Hodeida peacefully".

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