• Yemen ceasefire marks start of peace talks

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    YEMEN TALKS BEGIN  Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, drive an armored vehicle in the country’s third city Taez, on December 15. A shaky ceasefire began on Tuesday to mark the beginning of UNbrokered talks aimed at ending the months-long civil war. AFP PHOTO

    YEMEN TALKS BEGIN
    Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, drive an armored vehicle in the country’s third city Taez, on December 15. A shaky ceasefire began on Tuesday to mark the beginning of UNbrokered talks aimed at ending the months-long civil war. AFP PHOTO

    GENEVA: After months of relentless violence in Yemen, consultations facilitated by the United Nations began today in Switzerland aimed at finding a durable settlement to the crisis, including establishing a permanent ceasefire, securing improvements to the humanitarian situation and a returning to a peaceful and orderly political transition.

    The talks kicked off with the announcement by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed that the parties had agreed to a cessation of hostilities.

    The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon welcomed the talks and added that peaceful and inclusive dialogue is the only way to end “suffering and rebuild confidence, trust and mutual respect amongst the Yemeni people following months of civil war and thousands of lives lost.”

    “The Secretary-General also welcomes the declaration of cessation of hostilities accompanying the opening of the talks. He urges all parties to adhere to this cessation of hostilities and work towards a permanent and lasting end to the conflict,” said a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson in New York.

    Additionally, Ban said he was encouraged by the letter he received yesterday from the Yemeni Women’s Pact for Peace and Security and joined them in expressing hope that the talks will result in the end of the military conflict in Yemen and mark the country’s return to the path of sustainable peace.

    “He reiterates the necessity and value of women’s meaningful participation in the peace process, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2241 (2015),” said the statement.

    Further, the UN chief urged all parties at the peace talks to engage constructively and in good faith with each other and called on them to safeguard the national interest, agree on practical steps that will end the suffering of the Yemeni people and improve their daily lives.

    Ban also encouraged all countries of the region and other United Nations Member States to create a conducive environment for the talks.

    Welcoming the declaration of cessation of hostilities among the parties as a “critical first step towards building a lasting peace in the country,” Ould Cheikh Ahmed stressed at the same time that finding a durable solution is critical, warning “anyone who does not participate in the solution is effectively helping to perpetuate the crisis.”

    “The cessation of hostilities which was called today should mark the end of military violence in Yemen and the transition to progress based on negotiations dialogue and consensus,” said Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who added that making peace is a fundamental requirement to rebuild Yemen, rehabilitate the basic infrastructure, address the consequences of the war, provide the necessary environment to normalize life in all governorates, and resume economic activity.

    The talks are being facilitated by the Special Envoy and attended by 24 Yemeni representatives and advisors. UN experts are working with the delegations present to provide support to develop agreements that improve humanitarian access and delivery and to aid in the development of a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.

    In his opening remarks to the consultations, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Yemeni people of all groups – men and women of all ages and communities – are undergoing unprecedented suffering as their beloved country “is being consumed by the flames of violence and armed conflict.”

    UN DAILY NEWS

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