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UN-brokered Yemen peace talks end with no deal

UN-brokered Yemen peace talks end with no deal

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said two sides broadly favour a ceasefire in which the rebels would withdraw from cities and towns while a Saudi-led coalition halts airstrikes.



By (AP)

Published: Fri 19 Jun 2015, 10:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:07 PM

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin (L) speaks with members of his delegation after a meeting during Yemen peace talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva. -AFP

Geneva - UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said peace talks in Geneva between the exiled Yemeni government and Houthi rebels who control the capital have concluded without reaching an agreement.

He told reporters on Friday that two sides broadly favour a ceasefire in which the rebels would withdraw from cities and towns while a Saudi-led coalition halts airstrikes in support of the government but were not able to clinch a deal.

He says any agreement “will require further consultation” and did not specify a time for any future talks.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in fighting between the rebels and their opponents and in coalition airstrikes since late March.

On Friday, Saudi-led airstrikes pounded the rebels and allied forces, killing at least 10 civilians, witnesses said.

The airstrikes targeted the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, the southern city of Aden and the provinces of Lahj and Jouf early Friday morning, officials and witnesses said. The 10 civilians were killed in strikes on the rebels’ northern stronghold, Saada. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press. The witnesses insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien on Friday warned of a “looming humanitarian catastrophe,” with at least 11.7 million people affected by the conflict. He requested $1.6 billion dollars in emergency aid.

“People across the country are struggling to feed their families. Basic services are collapsing in all regions. Millions of families no longer have access to clean water, proper sanitation or basic healthcare. Deadly diseases such as dengue and malaria have broken out, and supplies for acute trauma care are running dangerously low,” he said in Geneva.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed by the fighting and airstrikes, and a million have fled their homes.

In Geneva, UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was shuttling between delegations from the Hadi government and the Houthis on Friday, hoping to broker an agreement on a humanitarian truce, UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said. The exiled government delegation is expected to depart Geneva on Saturday evening and the rebel delegation on Sunday.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riad Yassin told the Al Jazeera network that international partners are “frustrated” and said the Houthis would bear the blame if the talks failed.

The government has insisted on the implementation of a Security Council resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Houthis and their allies from captured cities, including the capital. The Houthis want a temporary cease-fire, which the government has rejected, saying the rebels exploited an earlier humanitarian pause to grab more territory.


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