UN envoy moves to revive Yemen talks

UNITED NATIONS: The UN envoy for Yemen said he will seek to revive talks between the Saudi-backed government and Ansar Allah group after a first bid for negotiations on ending the war failed to get off the ground.
Meetings aimed at preparing formal peace talks were to begin last week in Geneva, but the Ansar Allah refused to leave Sanaa to attend the consultations until a series of demands were met.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council he will be travelling to Sanaa and Riyadh to secure “a firm commitment from the parties to convene for continued consultations.”
The Ansar Allah group failed to turn up at the talks in Geneva over demands linked to the evacuation of wounded fighters and safe passage for the return of the delegation to Sanaa.
The Yemen peace process will have “ups and downs,” Griffiths told a council meeting, downplaying the setback as “temporary obstacles.” He asked the council to support his new shuttle diplomacy to “move back to the table with all speed.” It was the first UN bid to convene talks between the warring sides
since 2016.
The council “expressed regret” that the Ansar Allah did not attend the talks in Geneva and urged all sides to “engage in future consultations in good faith,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who holds the council presidency, told reporters after the meeting.
The war in Yemen has killed 10,000 people and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Ansar Allah fighters in Yemen since 2015 to drive them out of the capital Sanaa and return President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting resumed on the outskirts of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, days after UN-sponsored talks between the warring parties collapsed, military sources said on Wednesday.
The renewed skirmishes could put further pressure on Griffiths, who vowed to press ahead with diplomacy after an attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva was abandoned on Saturday when the Ansar Allah movement’s delegation failed to show up.
Coalition-backed troops are trying to take control of the main route between Hodeidah and Sanaa in order to cut off supplies to the capital, which is also
held by the Ansar Allah group, they said. — Agencies