Ye­men says rebels not se­ri­ous at UN talks

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - W RLD - —AFP

Stock­holm: A Ye­meni gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said Satur­day that Huthi rebels were “not se­ri­ous” on find­ing com­mon ground to end the dev­as­tat­ing war, three days into UN-bro­kered talks in Swe­den.

Nearly four years into a war that has pushed 14 mil­lion Yemenis to the brink of star­va­tion, the Saudi-backed gov­ern­ment of Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi and Huthi rebels, linked to Riyadh’s archri­val Iran, are in the ru­ral town of Rimbo for what UN of­fi­cials ex­pect will be a week of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“Ex­pec­ta­tions stem from ex­pe­ri­ence, and from ex­pe­ri­ence I would say no, they are not se­ri­ous,” said Rana Ghanem, a mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment del­e­ga­tion to the talks.

“But our hope ... is that this will help al­le­vi­ate the ten­sion, and al­le­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the Ye­meni peo­ple,” said Ghanem, the only woman in ei­ther del­e­ga­tion.

The last round of talks in 2016 broke down in Kuwait af­ter more than three months of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

A plan to host the war­ring par­ties in Geneva col­lapsed in Septem­ber af­ter the rebels re­fused to leave the cap­i­tal Sanaa, cit­ing safety con­cerns. Gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, rebel spokes­men and UN Ye­men en­voy Mar­tin Grif­fiths have all said the talks are not aimed at find­ing a political so­lu­tion to the con­flict.

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