MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. The process of political settlement of the Yemeni conflict continues despite the coronavirus pandemic, with the parties planning to hold online talks soon, Russian Ambassador to Yemen Vladimir Dedushkin told TASS on Tuesday.
"The process has not stopped. The Yemeni process goes on despite the pandemic. Setting aside combat operations that continue in various parts of that country, the parties to the conflict are generally ready for talks," he said. "The bulk of work is currently being done by United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths who maintains contact with both the Houthis and with representatives of the Yemeni government."
"Immediate plans are to resume intra-Yemeni talks in the format of videoconferences," he noted.
"The situation [in Yemen] is still tense, that is why the major task facing the parties to the upcoming talks is to stop hostilities across the entire country. Other major tasks are to resume the negotiating process, the political settlement, to address humanitarian problems and exchange prisoners," Deduchkin said.
According to the Russian diplomat, it is planned to organize a meeting between the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to Yemen and Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdullah Al-Hadhrami. "The five ambassadors to Yemen have also rearranged their work in a new format. We are maintaining contacts and plan to hold an online meeting with the Yemeni foreign minister. We will discuss the current situation and exchange views," he said.
Armed confrontation between government forces and Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels, who currently control the capital city Sanaa, has been going on in Yemen since August 2014, reaching the most active phase in March 2015 following the Saudi-led coalition's intervention.
The intra-Yemeni consultations in Stockholm in early December 2018 yielded a number of agreements on a ceasefire and gradual withdrawal of armed units from Yemen’s largest Red Sea port of Hodeidah, as well as from the ports of Salif and Ras Isa. The parties also agreed to begin negotiations on prisoner exchange.