News ID: 234400
Published: 1106 GMT November 17, 2018

UN: Warring parties in Yemen agree to meet in Sweden

UN: Warring parties in Yemen agree to meet in Sweden

The UN envoy for Yemen announced Friday Houthi movement and supporters of the former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi have agreed to attend talks aimed at ending their three-year war, which has created the globe’s worst humanitarian crisis by pushing the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council that he planned to bring the warring parties together “soon” in Sweden. He also said the Houthis and Hadi’s supporters, which are backed by a Saudi-led coalition, were about to conclude an agreement on exchanging prisoners and detainees, AP reported.

Griffiths said he is determined to take advantage of “the international attention and energy” to move toward peace.

“We must seize this positive international momentum on Yemen,” he told the UN’s most powerful body. “This is an opportunity at a crucial moment to pursue a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement to the conflict.”

Griffiths said preparatory issues for the meeting are close to being resolved and he has sent the parties his “vision” for “UN-led, inclusive Yemeni negotiations to end the war and restart a political transition process.”

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Hadi, who had earlier resigned amid a political conflict and fled to the Saudi capital.

The Houthi movement – which is now running state affairs in the absence of an effective government – has been defending the country against the Saudi-led aggression with the help of allied armed forces.

Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. Yemenis have fired long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia and targeted vessels in the Red Sea.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed over 10,000 people and created what the executive director of the UN’s World Food Program said Friday is “a catastrophe.”

David Beasley, who just returned from a three-day visit to Yemen, told the Security Council that “we do not need to wait for formal declarations about famine or even a full report to act.”

“I believe that because of what I saw and heard this week children are already dying,” he said.

Beasley warned that “starvation is on the horizon unless circumstances change – and change immediately.”

Right now, he said, his agency is helping about 8 million people a month in Yemen but the situation has become “extremely dire.”

“Of the 28 million Yemenis, we believe that as many as 12 million or more Yemenis – yes, that’s right, almost half of the entire country – are just one step away from famine,” Beasley said.

That number has doubled in the last year and a half and the situation is getting even worse, largely because of the collapse of Yemen’s economy and the sharp decline in its currency, he said.

To avert famine, Beasley said, the international community must combine increased humanitarian funding with “an all-out effort to restore the Yemeni economy.”

Britain’s UN Ambassador, Karen Pierce, said she will circulate a Security Council resolution Monday to address the Yemen crisis and put Lowcock’s requests “into practice.”




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