Kerry in Oman for Ye­men peace talks

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry held talks yes­ter­day with of­fi­cials in Oman on ef­forts to end Ye­men’s 19month con­flict, state me­dia in Mus­cat said. Kerry and Oman’s For­eign Min­is­ter Yusuf bin Alawi dis­cussed the “peace­ful and hu­man­i­tar­ian role played by the sul­tanate in Ye­men,” ONA state news agency re­ported. Kerry is also ex­pected to meet ruler Sul­tan Qa­boos, in one of his last trips as sec­re­tary of state be­fore Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion ends on Jan­uary 20.

The US chief diplo­mat has been push­ing for a set­tle­ment of Ye­men’s deadly con­flict, which es­ca­lated with the mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion of a Saudi-led coali­tion to sup­port the gov­ern­ment against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in March 2015. Oman, one of the few Arab states to have good re­la­tions with Iran, has used its links to me­di­ate peace talks be­tween the in­sur­gents and Ye­men’s UN-rec­og­nized gov­ern­ment of pres­i­dent Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi. It is also the only Arab na­tion in the Gulf not part of the Saudi-led coali­tion, although it main­tains good re­la­tions with re­gional pow­er­house Saudi Ara­bia.

More than 7,000 peo­ple have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded in Ye­men since March 2015, and the UN says mil­lions are in need of food aid. An­other 21 mil­lion peo­ple ur­gently need health ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to the UN health agency. Yes­ter­day, 12 civil­ians, in­clud­ing a child, were killed in an air raid that tar­geted a con­voy of three lor­ries in the cen­tral Ibb prov­ince, while nine rebels were killed in an am­bush in the same re­gion, mil­i­tary and med­i­cal sources said. Five other rebels, three sol­diers and one civil­ian were killed Sun­day in re­newed vi­o­lence in the south­west­ern Taez prov­ince, mil­i­tary sources said. Af­ter Oman, Kerry will travel to Abu Dhabi for talks on re­gional con­flicts, in­clud­ing Syria. — AFP

MUS­CAT: US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry (left) meets with Omani Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for For­eign Af­fairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Ab­dul­lah in Mus­cat, Oman yes­ter­day. — AFP

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