Kuwait, April 22 (IANS) The UN sponsored peace talks between Yemen’s rival forces began in Kuwait on Thursday night, according to Kuwait’s state radio broadcasted live.
The talks came after a three-day delay as warring parties traded accusations over truce breaches and differences of the talks agenda between Saudi-backed internationally recognized Sunni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Shiite Houthi militia as well as its ally, the forces loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The rival parties sit around a table at the opening session of Yemen peace talks, as broadcasted by the radio.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed co-hosted the session and delivered a speech.
“I call upon you to begin in good faith to seek an end to the current crisis.. and I assure you that failure is out of equation, ” he said.
“Differences do exist, but it can be reconciled and our plan will form a solid framework to pave the way for a new political process,” he said.
“The talks will go ahead based on the agreed five points in line with the Security Council resolution 2216, and the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, ” he said.
“The solution requires concessions with good faith from all parties, and the Southern Cause will be the center of our works to find a comprehensive solution for its future, ” he said.
“Let’s begin today from Kuwait the process of ending violence in Yemen and the work for peace path,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition said they are coordinating with cease-fire monitoring teams in Yemen to report any violations to the truce. The on-going Kuwait talks are the third round of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, after two previous ones in June and December of 2015 failed to yield any progress.
It is hoped that the latest talks would end more than a year of Yemen’s civil war and the Saudi-led military intervention, which have claimed more than 6,400 lives, over half being civilians, and displaced millions, according to UN statistics.
The latest cease-fire kicked off on April 10 and was supposed to pave the way the talks, but both warring sides have complained of violations by the other side, including continued heavy shelling and air strikes.
The crisis in Yemen started in 2011, when Saleh was forced to step down from his 33-year rule and handed power to his then deputy Hadi, as part of a wave of protests and political turmoil that swept the whole Arab world.