UN: Yemen peace talks to begin Thursday

UN-brokered Yemeni peace talks, which were originally scheduled to begin Monday, are expected to open Thursday in Kuwait, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday.

The peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels were postponed after delegations representing the rebels and their allies failed to appear Monday.

"The Yemeni peace negotiations will start tomorrow in Kuwait under the auspices of the United Nations," Dujarric said in New York.

An official in Sana'a airport, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that delegations representing the Houthis and the General National Congress of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose troops have backed the rebels, left for the Omani capital Muscat earlier Wednesday en route to Kuwait.

The government's negotiating team meanwhile said that it would be compelled to leave Kuwait if the talks did not begin Thursday morning.

The Houthis would bear full responsibility for the failure of the negotiations in that case, the government delegation said in a statement carried by the official Saba news agency.

The talks were due to follow a ceasefire that went into effect on April 10, but both sides have accused each other of breaching the halt to fighting.

Saudi Arabia and allies launched an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015 after they advanced on the government's last strongholds in the south of the country.

The UN and aid agencies have warned that the conflict threatens a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries even before the war.

Last update: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 21:03

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