Ray of Hope Sparkles for Resumption of Yemen Peace Talks, Cessation of Hostilities

After the United States called on all parties to Yemen conflict to come to the negotiating table, the United Nations said Wednesday it aims to re-launch Yemen peace talks “within a month”.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Mr. Martin Griffiths has as well welcomed calls for an immediate resumption of talks and a cessation of hostilities in the war-torn country.

“I urge all concerned parties to seize this opportunity to engage constructively with our current efforts to swiftly resume political consultations to agree on a framework for political negotiations,” Griffiths said in a statement.

The UN envoy also added, “We remain committed to bring the Yemeni parties to the negotiations table within a month.”

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are in a US-backed coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the country, are ready for talks.

“We have got to move toward a peace effort here, and we can’t say we are going to do it some time in the future,” Mattis said at the US Institute of Peace in Washington.

“We need to be doing this in the next 30 days,” he added. Mattis said that the US is calling for the warring sides to meet with Griffiths in Sweden in November.

For its part, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has as well welcomed the US call on Wednesday.

“This can be the political breakthrough that we have long requested from parties to this brutal war,” Nigel Tricks, regional director for the NRC, said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the conflict between embattled Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognised by the United Nations, and the Houthis in 2015.

The coalition has been waging an aerial bombing campaign in Yemen aimed at pushing the Houthis back, but the rebels still hold the key port city of Hodeida and the capital Sanaa.

After UN-backed talks collapsed in September, the coalition announced it was relaunching an assault on Hodeida, whose port serves as an entry point for more than 70 percent of imports to the impoverished country.

Yemeni government officials said Tuesday that the coalition has deployed 10,000 new troops to the Red Sea coast, ahead of a new offensive on Hodeida “within days”.

Tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of others injured since the Houthi militia staged their coup against the legitimate government and controlled most of the northern swathes in 2014. The country now stands at the brink of famine, with more than 22 million Yemenis — three quarters of the population — in need of some sort of humanitarian aid.

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