News ID: 235703
Published: 0442 GMT December 12, 2018

Yemen warring parties agree to reopen Sana’a Int’l Airport

Yemen warring parties agree to reopen Sana’a Int’l Airport

Yemen’s warring parties agreed on Wednesday to reopen Sana’a International Airport in the capital, sources said, as Western nations press the two sides to agree on confidence-building measures before the end of the first UN-led peace talks in two years.

The Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed former government were still discussing a United Nations proposal on the contested port city of Hodeida, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis facing starvation, Reuters reported.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to attend final talks in Sweden today to support his envoy’s efforts to launch a political process to end the nearly four-year war. Another round of talks could be held in early 2019.

The Houthis hold most population centers, including Hodeida and the capital Sana’a. Supporters of the former government is now based in the southern port of Aden.

The two parties agreed that international flights would stop at a government-held airport for inspections before flying in or out of Sana’a, two sources familiar with the talks said.

They have yet to agree on whether those inspections would be in Aden airport or that of Sayun, the sources added.

The Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in the war in 2015 to restore former president controls the airspace.

The Saudi-led coalition has faced increased scrutiny from Western allies, some of which supply it with arms and intelligence, over the war that has killed tens of thousands of people.

Ambassadors from countries that are permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – have joined talks with delegation heads.

US President Donald Trump told Reuters on Tuesday he could abide by legislation being considered by the Senate to end US support for the war following outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul Consulate.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, trying to avert a full-scale assault on Hodeida, where coalition forces have massed on the outskirts, is asking both sides to withdraw from the city.

His proposal envisions an interim entity being formed to run the city and port and international monitors being deployed.

Both sides have agreed to a UN role in the port, the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial imports and vital aid, but differ on who should run the city. The Houthis want Hodeida declared a neutral zone, while Hadi’s supporters believe the city should fall under its control as a matter of sovereignty.

They have also yet to agree on shoring up the Central Bank of Yemen, and on a transitional governing body, although a deal was struck on a prisoner swap that could see 15,000 prisoners released.



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