US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that peace talks aimed at ending the war in Yemen have been set for early December in Sweden, with Houthi rebels, the UN-recognised government and a Saudi-led coalition all expected to take part.
According to Mattis, both Saudia Arabia and United Arab Emirates governments who have backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the brutal three year old war have accepted to be part of the peace talks.
He said:”It looks like very, very early in December, up in Sweden, we’ll see both the Houthi rebel side and the UN-recognised government, President Hadi’s government, will be up there,”.
His comments came as UN envoy Martin Griffiths was in Yemen’s capital Sana’a for talks with rebel leaders to push them to join the peace talks in Sweden.
Earlier in September, a US backed peace talk between the rebels and the government in Switzerland was unsuccessful as the Houthi rebels failed to show up leading to the collapse of that effort to end the fighting.
The Shiite rebels have said repeatedly that they need stronger security guarantees from the international community that they will be given safe passage through the crippling air and sea blockade the coalition has enforced since March 2015.
Led by US, the international community is demanding in return that the Houthis halt all offensive operations, particularly missile attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and commit to joining talks on handing control of the key port of city of Hodeida to the UN.
EFFECTS OF WAR IN YEMEN
According to the UN and Save the Children International, about 14 million Yemenis are at risk of starvation, severe malnutrition and death if fighting closes the embattled port of Hodeida, a gateway for humanitarian aid.