'Firm assurances' Yemen's warring parties will attend talks - U.N.

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Yemen's warring parties have given 'firm assurances' that they are committed to attending peace talks to be convened shortly in Sweden, U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday, and pledged to escort the Houthi delegation from Sanaa if needed. 'This is a crucial moment for Yemen.

Reuters November 17, 2018 03:05:25 IST
'Firm assurances' Yemen's warring parties will attend talks - U.N.

Firm assurances Yemens warring parties will attend talks  UN

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Yemen's warring parties have given "firm assurances" that they are committed to attending peace talks to be convened shortly in Sweden, U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday, and pledged to escort the Houthi delegation from Sanaa if needed.

"This is a crucial moment for Yemen. I have received firm assurances from the leadership of the Yemeni parties ... that they are committed to attending these consultations. I believe they are genuine," Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council.

He is trying to broker peace in the more than three-year-old conflict seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-allied Houthi group.

U.N. food chief David Beasley told reporters earlier on Friday that the situation in Yemen was "a catastrophe."

The Houthis now rule most of Yemen's population, while the exiled government controls a section of the south. An attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva in September was abandoned after three days of waiting for the Houthi delegation.

"I will go to Sanaa next week ... I will also be happy to travel myself, if necessary, with the delegation to the consultations," Griffiths said. He is aiming to convene talks before the end of the year.

The Houthis had said in September that they wanted U.N. guarantees their plane would not have to stop in Djibouti for inspection by the Saudi-led coalition. They also wanted the plane to evacuate some of their wounded to Oman or Europe.

Griffith said he believed he was close to resolving preparatory issues to allow the talks in Sweden to happen.

"I am grateful to the coalition for agreeing our proposed logistical arrangements, and to the coalition and Oman for their agreement to facilitate the medical evacuation of some injured Yemenis out of Sanaa," he told the 15-member Security Council.

Griffiths also said the parties were about to conclude an agreement on the exchange of prisoners and detainees.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.