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Yemen talks not launched, await arrival of delegates: Sources

21 April 2016 14:27



Negotiations scheduled for Thursday between Yemen’s warring sides have not yet begun, awaiting the arrival of delegations representing Yemen’s Houthis and ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, sources say.

The representatives of the Houthis and Saleh’s General People’s Congress party, the main groups fighting Saudi and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen, are expected to arrive in Kuwait by the end of Thursday, said one diplomat close to the talks.

“As a result,” another diplomat said, “the talks could be delayed further until Friday.”

The talks had been initially scheduled for Monday, but the Houthi delegation did not participate, citing violations of a truce in the country by Saudi Arabia. The negotiations were later postponed until Thursday.

The Houthis agreed to join the UN-mediated talks after receiving assurances from the world body that the ceasefire would be respected.

A Yemeni man walks past flames rising from the ruins of buildings destroyed in Saudi airstrikes in the capital, Sana’a, February 10, 2016.  (Photo by AFP)

Saudi forces have repeatedly violated the truce, which came into effect on April 11.

The Houthi representatives and their allies left the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, for Oman on Wednesday and were expected to continue to Kuwait. But they were reportedly still in Oman on Thursday morning.

The chance of a major breakthrough was missed during previous talks in the Swiss city of Biel last December, and the negotiations ended with nothing more than an agreement on prisoner exchange amid Saudi violations of a previous ceasefire.

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March last year. At least 9,400 people, including 4,000 women and children, have been killed, and over 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression on Yemen.

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