Yemen Peace Talks Kick off in Sweden Thursday

Yemen Peace Talks Kick off in Sweden Thursday

Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 - 18:30
Police guard Johannesbergs Castle in Rimbo about 50 kilometers north of Stockholm where peace talks on Yemen are expected to take place. (EPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Peace talks between the Yemeni legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthis will kick off in Sweden on Thursday, the UN announced.

The UN-sponsored talks will be the first time the two warring parties meet since 2016.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths flew to Sanaa in the days leading up to the Sweden summit after his plans to host talks in Geneva in September failed when the Houthis failed to attend the talks after they made last-minute demands.

"The (UN special envoy) would like to announce the restart of the intra-Yemeni political process in Sweden on 6 December 2018," his office tweeted.

A 12-member team from the Saudi-backed government headed by Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani, arrived in Sweden on Wednesday, a day after Houthi delegates landed in Stockholm accompanied by the UN peace envoy.

Yemeni Information Minister Moammer al-Eryani confirmed their arrival via Twitter, saying the government team "carried with them the hopes of the Yemeni people for an end to the coup and the return of the state".

The delegation had delayed its departure until the Houthis arrived in Stockholm after they failed to show up for the last UN bid to convene peace talks in September, sources close to the government told AFP.

The Johannesbergs Castle -- a large estate with a golf course 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Stockholm – will host the talks.

The US State Department hailed the peace talks as a "necessary and vital first step".

The United Arab Emirates said the planned talks offered a "critical opportunity" to bring peace.

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