Yemen: peace talks to start next week among warring parties, regional actors, says UN envoy

Yemenis in Sana’a search for survivors after a bombing by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition. Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN

7 December 2015 – After several weeks of intensive consultations with the warring parties in Yemen, as well as with regional and international players, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country today announced that the parties have agreed to open on 15 December in Switzerland, a series of talks aimed at establishing a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

“We strongly believe that the only way to end the suffering of the Yemeni people and to rebuild confidence, trust, and mutual respect is through peaceful and inclusive dialogue,” the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told reporters in Geneva.

The Special Envoy said that both the Government of Yemen, the Houthis and other relevant parties have committed to participate in the talks, which he will chair and will also include eight negotiators and four advisors for each delegation. The talks are also set to secure improvements in the humanitarian situation and a return to a peaceful and orderly political transition.

He added that the aim is to develop a plan for the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including a measure adopted in April 2015 which demanded that all parties, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition.

According to the Special Envoy, implementing the relevant texts will bring the country back to a peaceful and orderly transition based on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and the outcomes of the national dialogue.

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed thanked all the participating stakeholders of the discussions for their conciliatory and courageous attitude and their commitment to bring a lasting peace to Yemen, and added that he was “very optimistic” of the parties reaching a permanent ceasefire.

“I call upon the parties to engage in good faith in search of a durable political solution for Yemen which meets the legitimate aspirations of Yemeni people for peace, stability, and prosperity,” he stressed, adding that making peace requires “a lot of courage, personal sacrifice and tenacity.”

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that he had been strongly encouraging the parties to work on confidence building measures, including implementing a ceasefire, releasing prisoners, and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian supplies that would constitute positive steps in the efforts to lessen tensions and ease the path to a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen.

“On behalf of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, I call on the parties to adhere to a ceasefire effective 15 December in order to create an environment conducive to peace talks, save lives and give hope to the Yemeni people,” the Special Envoy concluded.

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