Stockholm, Sweden – The UN Special Envoy has appealed to Jemmen’s war sides to “act now” for the war-torn country, as representatives of the government and Houthi rebels joined UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden.
“The future of Yemen is in the hands of them in this room,” said Martin Griffiths United Nations High Representative to Yemen on Thursday in his initial remarks on the talks aimed at ending more than three years of devastating war. 19659002] “We must act now before losing control of Yemen’s future,” he said.
“Both parties have requested a de-escalation, which is an important background for these talks.”
For the second time since the conflict began, officials of President Abd-Rabbi Mansour Hadis government and representatives of Houthi rebels move into discussions to discuss ways to end the battles that have killed an estimated 56,000 people and left a dizzy 22m
Sources previously told Al Jazeera that the UN Special Envoy attempts to introduce a set of confidence-building measures during the conversation in Rimbo, a distant city, about 50 km north of the Swedish capital Stockholm, which eventually paves the way for future negotiations.
“I’m also pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on prisoners, those who have been detained,” said Griffiths.
“It will allow thousands of families to be reunited.
” What should we do here and in the next few weeks is to work on the implementation of this. “
While the warring sides will not face face-to-face A source familiar with the negotiations said self-confidence-building measures will include negotiations on violence in the Hodeidah port city, large-scale prisons, resumption of Sanaas International Airport and payment of salaries to officials in Houthi-owned areas.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margo T Wallström said that the conversation could be “an important beginning.”
“It is up to you the warring parties to engage in constructive conversations with each other and Martin [Griffiths]. What is needed is concessions, compromises and courage, “she said.
But Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani gave little indication that he would offer concessions to his rivals.
He rejected a Houthi proposal to form a Presidential Council without President Hadi as “nonsense.”
“They should withdraw from state institutions and return them to the legitimate government. Other than that, there will be no peace, “he told Al Jazeera.
” They should respect the will of the international community and hand over their arms and ammunition and missiles. “
” Other than that there will not be any solution, no solution. “
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allow 50 injured Houthi rebels to be transferred to neighboring Oman for medical treatment as part of the confidence-building measures. 1
9659019] Delegates participate in peace talks [Faisal Edroos/Al Jazeera]
Saudi Arabia-UAE coalition has conducted a fatal military offensive against Houthis since March 2015, months after the Iranian-insurgent rebels drove the internationally supported government by President Hadi.
On Tuesday, the Government of Jemen agreed a large-scale prison with Houthis, with reports suggests that 2 000 pro-government forces could be exchanged for 1500 Houthis.
“We have signed a prison and we are looking forward to it,” said the Yemeni Foreign Minister to Al Jazeera.
Peace can only be reached if the Saudi people, emirates and Iranians stop intervening in Yemen’s affairs
Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2011
“heading in the right direction”
The Houthisians have told Al Jazeera that they are engaged in the talks and are willing to hand over Hodeidah’s strategic port to the UN. The Hodeidah port is a lifeline for humanitarian supplies for the country’s war-holding population.
The uprisings have also promised to end all drone and missile attacks in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in spite of the end of the Alliance
Peter Salisbury, an analyst and consultant from Yemen at the International Crisis Group, said the conversation “seems to be heading in the right direction”.
“The best case scenario is a broad agreement on these confidence-building measures, this includes something positive about Hodeidah, which will ward off the battle of the port and the city and a deal to meet sometime later for future calls” .
The following months of fatal fighting in the strategic port of Saudi Arabia-UAE, supporting the Yemeni government and Iran, which probably supports Houthis, have agreed that it can only be a political solution to the conflict.
But early on Thursday, [1 9459007] Al Masirah, Houthis medievinge, said the warriors killed at least three women in the Al-Duraymi city of Hodeidah province.
“Although the process seems to be moving in the right direction, the odds are
” If not within the conversation, so in the next few weeks. “
Shortly before the conversation, the Yemeni government would call the rebels to drag signing back from Hodeidah, while Houthis threatened to close Sanaa Airport, unless their requirements were met.
Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist and fellow Nobel Peace Prize 2011, said that “peace can only be reached if the Saudi people, emirates and iranians stop intervene in Yemen’s affairs. “
” This intervention has hurt Yemen and increased the suffering of ordinary Yemen, “she said.
” Unless this negative intervention is reduced, Yemenis will not be able to reach political consent t that maintains its sovereignty . “
” is Without Blood Death “
International pressure to end the war has been mounted since the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnists, in October. 19659004] Western power has expressed its anger over the killing, with countries such as Germany and Norway suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia and senators in the United States, which questioned Washington’s strategic partnership with Riyadh.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a strongly formulated resolution that keeps Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for alleged cruelty committed during the Yemen war.
VIEW: Yemeni bud’s forthcoming talks will end the war (2:51)
Abdul Malik al-Ajri, a member of the Houthi delegation, told Al Jazeera that the rebels hoped that the consultation would lead to an “inclusive political dialogue”.
“We hope these negotiations will help to end it,” said Al-Ajri.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on the rival sides to embrace the dialogue and said that the war had only earned destruction for Yemen
“You should agree and be unaware without bloodshed and war like the people in a home,” Ahmed said in a statement.
“Plan your growth and progress, and follow the civilization you once were at the forefront. of “.
The warring parties must set apart from their partisan and personal profits and seek good for Yemen and the Yemeni people
Hamid Sharaf Ali, Sanaa Resident
“Yemen Can not Wait”
Yemen has been broken by conflicts since 2014 when the Houthi rebels allied troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital of Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia launched a massive air campaign against the rebels in March 2015, aimed at restoring Hadis’s government.
Since then, the United States has helped the coalition, now composed primarily of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with weapons and logistical support.
Even recently, Washington also thought of the Alliance’s plan that was responsible for the more than 18,000 raids performed in the country.
According to Yemen Data Project, almost a third of all these bombing missions expel non-military sites.
The inhabitants of the Yemeni capital urged the warring sides to eliminate their differences, saying that the country had reached a decline and “Yemeni could no longer wait”.
Hamid Sharaf Ali, a school guardsman told Al Jazeera: “The warring parties have to put away their partisan and personal profits and seek good for Yemen and the Yemeni people.”