Politics, World, Middle East

Yemen’s Houthis to join UN-backed peace talks in Kuwait

Shia group joins talks after receiving UN guarantees that Saudi-led coalition would halt airstrikes in Yemen

Mohamed Sabry Emam Muhammed   | 20.04.2016
Yemen’s Houthis to join UN-backed peace talks in Kuwait


By Zakaria al-Kamali

SANAA, Yemen

A delegation of Yemen's Shia Houthi group will set out from Sanaa for Kuwait on Wednesday to join UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at resolving the one-year conflict in the Arab country.

"We will [seek to meet] the aspirations of our people to achieve dignity, independence and freedom," Houthi leader Mahdi al-Mashti said in a statement on Facebook late Tuesday.

Talks were scheduled to kick off in Kuwait on Monday, but Houthi representatives failed to show up for negotiations.

A Houthi source told Anadolu Agency that the Shia group -- along with allied forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- had demanded a "clear agenda" for talks, along with UN guarantees that airstrikes being carried out in Yemen by a Saudi-led military coalition would be halted.

Another Houthi source confirmed to Anadolu Agency that the group had since received guarantees from the world body that the airstrikes would stop.

Yemen has remained in turmoil since September 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

According to the UN, more than 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen -- about half of them civilians -- since the Saudi-led coalition began its air campaign in the war-battered country.

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