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UNITED NATIONS, October 29. /TASS/. Nothing can hamper peace talks between the Yemeni government and rebels at this stage, Yemen’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Khalid al-Yamani told journalists on Wednesday.
He said efforts were being taken to work out the agenda for future discussions. However, in his words, the preparatory process was yet at the initial stage. He said United Nations special envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was holding consultations with rebel representatives in Oman’s capital city Muscat. After the consultation he would go to Riyadh for talks with a government delegation. The agenda, schedule, date and venue of peace talks would be agreed after these consultations, al-Yamani said.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told TASS on October 23 peace talks would be launched no later than in two weeks. He said the dialogue between the government and rebels would involve no third parties, including Saudi Arabia.
The Yemeni UN ambassador said he hoped Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s expectations would finally come true. However he noted it was too early to speak about possibilities of truce before the talks. In his words, further steps would depend on the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2216 that provided for troops withdrawal, arms surrender and release of those kept under home arrest.
Since August 2014, Yemen has been suffering from a severe political and security crisis. In late January 2015, armed groups of Ansar Allah (Houthi rebels) seized the country’s capital city of Sana’a and forced President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi and the government to announce resignation. The president tried to hide in the port city of Aden but after the Houthi seized this city on March 25 he had to flee the country. After Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi called for help from the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia’s air force supported by aviation of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates launched an operation Decisive Storm against the Houthis on March 26. Later, this operation was followed by another one, Renewal of Hope. The Saudi-led coalition has been joined by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan.
On April 14, the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 2216 that stipulated arms and military equipment embargo to Houthi rebels. The draft document was proposed by Jordan, the United States and Britain.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as many as 2,615 civilians were killed and 5,193 were wounded in Yemen in a period from March 26 to October 26.