Published: Wed, December 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Yemen peace talks: United Nations says Hodeidah should be under joint control

Yemen peace talks: United Nations says Hodeidah should be under joint control

"The participation of the government delegation in Sweden ongoing talks is with serious desire to achieve peace, with the aim to save our people from war and distraction imposed by the Houthi militia".

Far from the battlefields of Yemen, the hallways and common rooms of a Swedish castle have been hosting surprisingly cordial interactions between representatives from opposing sides of a bitter civil war.

According to the source, the project also envisages that Yemen maintains relations with neighboring countries and also includes full cessation of hostilities throughout the country, including the areas bordering Saudi Arabia.

The rebel delegation said it has provided its own list of prisoners held by the government.

The Houthis told Reuters they want Hodeida to be declared a neutral zone, but Yamani rejected this suggestion.

The government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition, said it has provided United Nations mediators with an initial list of 8,200 prisoners allegedly held by the rebels, known as Houthis.

Prisoners will be flown out through two airports: government-held Seyoun, in central Yemen, and the rebel-held capital Sanaa, home to an global airport that has been largely shut down for three years.

"The two parties are engaged in a serious and constructive way in discussing the details of confidence-building measures", Griffiths said.

Zaeel told AFP the government demanded the rebels hand over the body of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former president who was killed at the hands of the Huthis after he broke a fragile alliance with the rebels to re-align with Saudi Arabia.

Yemen's Minister of Culture Marwan Dammaj speaks to journalists during the ongoing peace talks on Yemen held at Johannesberg Castle in Rimbo Sweden
Houthis call Saudi, UAE to join peace talks in Sweden

The rebels, however, refused that demand Friday.

Previous talks over the years have proven futile, with the last round not even resulting in face-to-face discussions.

The Sweden talks, which opened Thursday, mark the first meeting between the Yemeni government and rival rebels since 2016 - when more than three months of talks on ending the Yemen collapsed without a breakthrough.

Yemen's deputy foreign minister, Hussein al-Ezzi, told the Guardian it supported United Nations supervision of Hodeidha, adding the military escalation against the port "was based on two false arguments: first, we seize the port's resources".

The Hodeidah proposal is a significant step closer to the demands of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government was driven out of the capital in a militant takeover in 2014 that included the seizure of Hodeidah - the most valuable port in a country now at the brink of starvation.

Although a stalemate over the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa airport continues, the two groups are taking baby steps towards conflict resolution.

It could also accept the transfer of port revenues to the central bank in Hodeida instead of routing them to Aden, the minister said.

However, the government is willing to accept the deployment of monitors from the U.N. Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) in the port, the entry point for most of Yemen's commercial goods and aid supplies.

The government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, controls the air space and closed the airport to passenger planes.

Like this: