Yemenis hope Sweden talks open new chapter

STOCKHOLM: As rival delegations from Yemen prepare for UN-sponsored negotiations in Sweden aimed at reducing a military escalation in the country’s four-year war, many Yemenis are optimistic about what the talks might bring. “These consultations will succeed and turn the page in 2019, where peace will be the dominant factor in Yemen,” said Abdu al Habashi, a Yemeni living in the capital Sanaa. “A military solution for the Yemeni crisis is no longer feasible, this is why the rival sides are forced to go into consultations to find a solution,” he added. Al Habashi’s high hopes were elevated in large part by the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Grffiths, who managed to convince rival delegations to come to Sweden. A previous attempt at holding talks in September failed when the Ansar Allah failed to show up in Geneva.

The negotiations, anticipated in the coming days, follow an announcement that both sides have signed a prisoner swap deal and the transfer of 50 injured fighters from Sanaa for treatment. “There is a lot of optimism this time, especially that all sides have felt the need to end the crisis which has taken its toll on them on a human, financial and psychological level,” Sanaa resident Mohammed Ismail said. The conflict has led to displacement, food insecurity, destruction uof the healthcare system, outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria across the country. The UN considers Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and has repeatedly warned of a looming famine. — DPA