U.N. confirms Yemen talks to convene in Geneva

It had been feared the upcoming peace talks would be postponed, a spokesman for Yemen's government told Al Arabiya

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The United Nations on Sunday confirmed Yemen peace talks would start Monday in Geneva, despite earlier speculations.

"We expect the parties to be here for what we call Geneva Consultations tomorrow," spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters on Sunday.

Yemen’s Houthis reportedly departed from the airport in the capital, Sanaa, on Sunday, to travel to Geneva for U.N.-led peace talks.

But sources told Al Arabiya News Channel early Monday the delegation was stuck in Djibouti.

It had been feared the upcoming peace talks in Geneva would be postponed, a spokesman for Yemen's government in exile told Al Arabiya News Channel on Saturday.

Rajeh Badi had cast his doubts following news that a U.N. plane left Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa on Saturday without the delegates that would have represented the Houthis and deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Badi said the Houthi and Saleh delegates were “dragging their feet,” adding that this showed they were “not seriously considering participation in the meeting.”

Sources told Al Arabiya News that a fresh rift had broken out between the Houthis and Saleh over the agenda at the peace talks, prompting the Houthi delegations not to board the plane.

This is despite neighboring Oman – a GCC member – pressing members of the Iranian-backed militia to attend the U.N.-sponsored peace talks.

Fawzi said representatives of both sides in the Yemeni conflict were expected to be in the Swiss city on Sunday night.

The U.N. special envoy to Yemen had previously said he will hold separate “proximity” peace talks with both sides in Geneva on Sunday with the hope of bringing the warring parties to the same table eventually, Reuters news agency reported.

(With AFP)

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