Yemen talks begin in Switzerland as ceasefire takes effect

AP , Tuesday 15 Dec 2015

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed
The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed makes a statement at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland December 7, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

A United Nations spokesman in Geneva says U.N.-brokered talks between Yemeni government envoys and representatives of the country's Shiite rebels have started in Switzerland.

The talks came as a ceasefire went into effect between Yemen's warring factions at noon on Tuesday.

The war has so far killed at least 5,878 people since March, when the fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels, known as Houthis.

In Geneva, U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi says 24 people are taking part in the talks that are taking place at an "undisclosed location" in Switzerland. Swiss public radio said they were to take place in the village of Macolin in northeast Switzerland.

In a statement, U.N. special envoy for Yemen Ismail Cheikh Ahmed said the talks "should mark the end of military violence in Yemen."

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