Yemen foes to resume face-to-face peace talks

AFP , Wednesday 4 May 2016

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed
Yemen's United Nations envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed holds a press conference at the ministery of information in Kuwait City on April 30, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

Yemen's warring parties are to resume face-to-face peace talks on Wednesday after a three-day break triggered by a walkout by the government delegation, the United Nations said.

The negotiations, which began on April 21, broke off on Sunday after the government delegation quit in protest at the apparent surrender of one of the few loyalist bases in the northern mountains to Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

"Participants will meet... on Wednesday in a plenary session to follow up with the agreed agenda," UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

It will be only the second day of face-to-face talks in the hard-won negotiations to end a devastating conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since March last year.

The UN envoy said the two sides agreed that a monitoring committee supervising an April 11 ceasefire will launch a fact-finding mission into the rebels' takeover of the Al-Amaliqa base in Amran province, one of their strongholds.

The committee will submit a report within 72 hours with practical recommendations that all sides pledge to carry out, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation, has demanded a rebel pullout.

The United Nations stressed the need to strengthen ceasefire monitoring committees on the ground, particularly in and around battleground third city Taez, where loyalist troops have been under siege for months, trapping tens of thousands of civilians.

Despite a Saudi-led military intervention in support of the government launched in March last year, the rebels and their allies still control the capital, as well as much of the northern and central mountains and Red Sea coast.

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