News ID: 235188
Published: 0238 GMT December 03, 2018

Iran backs Yemen peace talks, wants end of crisis

Iran backs Yemen peace talks, wants end of crisis

Iran on Monday expressed support for UN-sponsored Yemen peace talks, saying Tehran is ready to help find a political solution.

"Iran welcomes the talks in Sweden ... Tehran is ready to help international talks to end the crisis and underlines the importance of accelerating providing humanitarian aid to the people," Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Houthi-held capital Sana’a on Monday to escort the Houthi delegation for the talks, the first since 2016, Reuters reported.

Prospects for convening talks have increased as Western allies press Saudi Arabia, leader of the military alliance battling the Houthis, over a war that has killed more than 15,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The peace talks may start on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the matter said, after Griffiths shuttled between the parties to salvage a previous round that collapsed in September after the Houthis failed to show up.

Western powers, which provide arms and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition, may have greater leverage to demand action on Yemen after outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul led to increased scrutiny of the kingdom's activities in the region.

A Houthi official said that their delegation could travel on Monday night or Tuesday morning. 

It came after the military coalition allowed the evacuation of some of Houthi fighters wounded for treatment.

A Reuters photographer saw the group of 50 wounded fighters entered Sana’a airport to wait for a UN commercial plane that would take them to Oman for treatment.

The coalition said in a statement it had agreed on the evacuation for "for humanitarian considerations and as part of confidence-building measures" ahead of the talks, which are also due to focus on a transitional governing body.

Some 8.4 million Yemenis are facing starvation, although the United Nations has warned that will likely rise to 14 million. Three-quarters of impoverished Yemen's population, or 22 million people, require aid.

The alliance intervened in the war in 2015 to restore a former government but has faced military stalemate, despite superior air power, since seizing the southern port city of Aden that year.

The Houthis, who are more adept at guerrilla warfare, hold most population centers including Sana’a and the port city of Hodeida, a lifeline for millions that is now a focus of the war.

Griffiths hopes to reach a deal on reopening Sana’a airport and securing a prisoner swap and a cease-ire in Hodeida as a foundation for a wider truce, including a halt to coalition airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians and Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities.



Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 0/6112 sec