U.N. Aims for Ye­men Talks by Yearend

Iran News - - INTERNATIONAL -

UNITED NA­TIONS (Reuters) - United Na­tions Ye­men en­voy Mar­tin Grif­fiths is aim­ing to con­vene the coun­try’s war­ring par­ties for peace talks by the end of the year, a U.N. spokesman said on Thurs­day, af­ter last week say­ing he would try to bring them to­gether by the end of the month.

A proxy war is play­ing out in Ye­men be­tween Iran and Saudi Ara­bia. A Saudi-led mil­i­tary coali­tion in­ter­vened in Ye­men in 2015, back­ing gov­ern­ment forces fight­ing the Iran-al­lied Houthi group. Iran has de­nied sup­ply­ing weapons to the Houthis.

The United States and Bri­tain last week stepped up calls for an end to the nearly four-year war that has driven im­pov­er­ished Ye­men to the verge of famine, rais­ing pres­sure on Saudi Ara­bia as it faces a global out­cry over the mur­der of a prom­i­nent Saudi jour­nal­ist in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul on Oct. 2.

Grif­fiths, who is due to brief the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Nov. 16, is try­ing to sal­vage peace talks that col­lapsed in Septem­ber. He said in a state­ment last week that he hoped to bring the par­ties to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble within a month.

How­ever, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Thurs­day the goal was for po­lit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions be­fore the end of the year. “There’s al­ways dif­fer­ent chal­lenges to bring­ing the par­ties to­gether,” Haq told re­porters. “What we’re try­ing to do is clear up any is­sues so that we can get a suc­cess­ful round of talks as soon as pos­si­ble.”

An at­tempt to hold peace talks in Geneva in Septem­ber was aban­doned af­ter three days of wait­ing for the Houthi del­e­ga­tion. The Houthis had said 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.

An aide to Grif­fiths said work to re-launch the po­lit­i­cal process was pro­ceed­ing as planned.

“We are in con­stant con­sul­ta­tion with the par­ties to fi­nal­ize the lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments for hold­ing the talks. We are com­mit­ted to con­ven­ing the talks as soon as those ar­range­ments are fi­nal­ized,” said the aide.

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