New Yemen peace talks to open in Kuwait


KUWAIT CITY: Yemeni rivals gather in Kuwait on Monday for UN-brokered peace talks, with parties involved cautiously optimistic despite multiple violations of a one-week-old ceasefire.

The negotiations bringing together representatives of the Gulf-backed government and rebels supported by Iran aim to bring an end to 13 months of fighting that have devastated already-impoverished Yemen.

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived Sunday in Kuwait, where he spoke of “much tension” still gripping the war-torn country, KUNA news agency reported.

But briefing the UN Security Council on Friday, Cheikh Ahmed said Yemen has “never been so close to peace.”

“The path to peace might be difficult, but it is workable,” he said, cautioning however that violations of the ceasefire in place since April 11 “threaten the success of the peace talks.”

The ceasefire has been violated numerous times with fighting that has been unabated in Nahm, northeast of rebel-held Sanaa, killing nine pro-government soldiers on Sunday.

Previous attempts have failed to stop the war, which the UN says has killed more than 6,400 people, forced almost 2.8 million from their homes and raised regional tensions.

But the rebels, the government and an Arab military coalition backing it, as well as the United Nations, have avoided talk of the ceasefire collapsing, as happened with three earlier truces.

And in contrast with previous ceasefires, joint committees of rebel and loyalist forces were formed to monitor compliance.

Cheikh Ahmed on Sunday said the situation was generally stable across Yemen despite “some violations” of the ceasefire, said KUNA.

The Arab coalition battling the rebels since March 2015 has described violations as “minor.”



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