Trust-building first step in Yemen talks, says UN envoy

GENEVA: Peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties will start by trying to build trust between the two sides, who are both keen to agree prisoner releases, and substance will come later, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths told reporters on Wednesday.
Griffiths, who plans a three-day first round in Geneva and hopes to reactivate formal peace negotiations, said he was not fazed by the delayed arrival of the Ansarullah delegation, adding that Abdulmalik al Houthi was impatient for rapid progress in the talks.
The first peace talks since late 2015 on Thursday face an uphill struggle to rescue attempts to end a war marked by mass civilian casualties and fuelled by rivalry in the region.
Griffiths wants Yemen’s government and the Ansarullah movement to work towards a deal to end the war, remove foreign forces from Yemeni territory, and establish a national unity government.
Since 2015 the humanitarian situation has worsened dramatically, putting 8.4 million people on the brink of starvation, triggering the world’s worst cholera epidemic, and wrecking the already weak economy.
Nobody knows how many people have died. The UN lost count more than two years ago, after 10,000 civilians were killed.
— Reuters