Houthi militias, UN envoy arrive in Sweden for peace talks

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is seen during his departure at Sanaa airport. (Reuters)

A plane carrying a delegation of Houthi militias accompanied by UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in Sweden late Tuesday for high-stakes talks with the government aimed at ending the Yemeni conflict, the United Nations said.

Government officials are due to arrive on Wednesday, it said, for the first peace talks since 2016. Although no date has been announced for the start of the negotiations, Yemeni government sources say they could begin on Thursday.

The head of the so-called Houthi Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, had confirmed participation in Sweden’s peace talks, while the leader of the militias Mohammed Ali al-Houthi announced that their delegation would arrive in Sweden on December 3, which makes their departure on the evening of the fourth, a late one.

But the head of the delegation of the Houthis and their spokesman Mohamed Abdel Salam doubted the ability of the UN's special envoy to Yemen to hold these talks.

For its part, the Yemeni legitimate government announced that its delegation will only travel to Sweden after the arrival of the Houthi delegation there.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, Yemeni writer and journalist Ezzat Mustapha describes Tuesday’s efforts by Griffiths as a “bold step” at a crucial time.

“He had ensure the he himself went and left Sanaa accompanying the Houthis. This was his way of telling the Houthis that he wanted no distractions or derailment from their side. This comes at a crucial time as he’s been trying several diplomatic efforts with them since the Geneva III talks,” Mustapha told Al Arabiya.

(With Agencies)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58