Yemen’s peace talks to start in Sweden next week, says British envoy - Kogonuso

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Nov 29, 2018

Yemen’s peace talks to start in Sweden next week, says British envoy

ADEN, DUBAI: UN-sponsored peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties are expected to start next week in Sweden, Britain’s envoy to Yemen said on Thursday.

The UN is trying to reconvene talks between the Yemeni government led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-backed Houthis to agree a framework for peace and a transitional governing body. A previous round in Geneva collapsed in September when the Houthis failed to show up.

“The Sweden consultations led by the UN envoy will take place next week. I have booked my trip and looking forward to seeing you leading your delegation, the political solution is the way to move forward,” Michael Aron, the Riyadh-based British ambassador to Yemen, tweeted to the Houthis’ spokesman Mohammed Abdusalam.

A member of Hadi’s delegation told Reuters on Wednesday that the talks were due to be held on Dec. 4, but that the date could change “depending on logistics.”

Martin Griffiths, the UN envoy to Yemen, visited the Houthi-held capital Sanaa this week where he met with the militant leaders. The UN humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, arrived in Sanaa on Thursday. A spokeswoman declined to give an exact date for the talks.

“Preparations are ongoing as planned and we hope the consultations will convene in early December,” she said.

The last UN attempt to convene the warring parties collapsed after the Houthis asked for guarantees from the UN that their plane would not be inspected.

They also wanted to evacuate some of their wounded to Oman for treatment.

Saudi Arabia confirmed its willingness to evacuate 50 wounded Houthi fighters as a confidence-building measure, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Reuters this month.

The new peace efforts come as the war’s frontlines have seen a fragile de-escalation.

The Houthis said last week they were halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies, responding to a demand from the United Nations.

However, the group’s Al Masirah TV said on Thursday the group fired a ballistic missile on the Saudi-bordering region of Najran.

The Arab coalition halted its offensive on the port city of Hodeidah, although skirmishes continued on the outskirts.

“Each custodial death must be independently investigated, and the results must be publicly reported,” Pinheiro said.

The commission called on Syrian authorities not only to provide information on the fate of the missing and how people perished but to “promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and independently” investigate all deaths in custody or resulting from summary or extrajudicial executions.

Pinheiro told reporters that more than at any time in the commission’s seven years of work, “it’s crucial to have access to the country, because these issues must be discussed with the Syrian authorities concerned.”

He said several members of the Security Council “have different aspects of leverage” to help.

Asked about Russia, Syria’s closest council ally, he replied without elaborating: “We had a very good dialogue with them.”

Pinheiro said the commission expects the 15 council members to understand “that the issues of detainees and disappeared is not to be dealt (with) after the peace but now is the moment” to consider this.

Britain’s Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Allen, who presided at the meeting, called on Syrian authorities “to release information to long-suffering agonized families about the fate of their loved ones, and to do so as quickly as possible.”
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