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Yemen warring foes resume face-to-face talks

It will be only the second day of face-to-face talks in the hard-won negotiations to end a devastating conflict

Published: Updated:

UN-backed peace talks to end Yemen's civil war resumed on Wednesday after they were suspended by the Yemeni government for three days in protest at a Houthi assault on a military base near the capital Sanaa.

UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed tweeted a picture of delegates representing the main warring sides sitting around a U-shaped table and said talks on Wednesday would focus on cementing the shakey ceasefire.

The negotiations, which began on April 21, broke off on Sunday after the government delegation quit in protest at the apparent surrender of one of the few loyalist bases in the northern mountains to Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

“Participants will meet... on Wednesday in a plenary session to follow up with the agreed agenda,” UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

It will be only the second day of face-to-face talks in the hard-won negotiations to end a devastating conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since March last year.

The UN envoy said the two sides agreed that a monitoring committee supervising an April 11 ceasefire will launch a fact-finding mission into the rebels’ takeover of the al-Amaliqa base in Amran province, one of their strongholds.

The committee will submit a report within 72 hours with practical recommendations that all sides pledge to carry out, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation, has demanded a rebel pullout.

The United Nations stressed the need to strengthen ceasefire monitoring committees on the ground, particularly in and around battleground third city Taez, where loyalist troops have been under siege for months, trapping tens of thousands of civilians.

Despite a Saudi-led military intervention in support of the government launched in March last year, the militias and their allies still control the capital, as well as much of the northern and central mountains and Red Sea coast.