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UN-brokered Yemeni peace talks to start next week, say reports

Yemeni's deposed president expects past UN resolutions, Gulf-brokered agreements to form basis of talks, spokesman says
Yemeni children inspect the rubble following an air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition on 31 May north of Sanaa (AFP)

Direct talks between the Houthis and Yemen’s exiled government to end the country’s nine-week long crisis will reportedly take place in Geneva within the next two weeks.

Unconfirmed media reports indicate that the first meeting between the two groups since the start of the Saudi-led airstrikes on the country will be held June 10 and mediated by the UN.

Reports of the meeting follow discussions between the Houthis and US and UK diplomats in Oman over the past five days.

During the discussions mediated by Oman, the group indicated that it will retreat from territory is has seized over the past few months in exchange for being dropped from the UN sanctions list, a source told MEE.

The UN’s Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Chiekh Ahmed, has meanwhile been in Riyadh, speaking with Saudi leaders and Yemen’s exiled government, led by President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi, to lower their demands and come, as the US and UK officials have apparently urged the Houthis, to the table in Geneva.

Hadi’s spokesman Rajeh Badi told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the deposed president expects that past UN resolutions and Gulf-brokered agreements will form the basis of the negotiations.

The factions had been scheduled to meet for UN-brokered talks in Geneva on 28 May, but the meeting was cancelled when Hadi’s government reportedly refused to attend unless the Houthis withdrew from the territory they have seized in recent months, including the capital Sanaa.

In April, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2216 which calls on the group to relinquish their territory and surrender its weapons, demands which the Saudis and Hadi have held steadfastly.

In turn, the Houthis, analysts say, want political recognition which they feel was denied them in the country’s national dialogue that followed Yemen’s Arab uprising and the fall of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.

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