Yemen’s govt says it will attend peace talks

At a meeting in Riyadh, officials ‘approved their participation in talks aimed at implementing Resolution 2216’

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Yemen’s government in exile has confirmed it will attend U.N.-mediated peace talks next week aimed at reaching a ceasefire with Iranian-backed militias who took control over swathes of the country.

In a statement late on Thursday, the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi said that a rebel pullback from areas seized since last year - as outlined by a U.N. resolution - remained a precondition to negotiations.

At a meeting in Riyadh, Yemeni government officials “approved their participation in talks aimed at implementing Resolution 2216,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Gulf intervention in Yemen and the concept of deterrence

The U.N.’s special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said on Thursday that both the exiled government and the Houthi Shiite militias had agreed to take part in negotiations that “will convene in the region next week.”

Hadi’s government called on Cheikh Ahmed to “strive for a clear, public commitment from the Houthis” and its allied forces to withdraw from areas they have seized, including the Yemeni capital.

Previous diplomatic efforts to end Yemen’s more than five-month conflict has failed to bear fruit.

On Friday morning, powerful explosions hit the Al-Hassaba neighborhood of the Houthi-held capital, where an arms depot was targeted by coalition war planes, witnesses said.

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