UN envoy: Yemen foes discuss key issues in direct talks

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Yemen foes discussed major political and security issues Thursday in face-to-face negotiations aimed at bringing an end to 13 months of devastating war, the UN envoy said.

Three joint working groups formed by the United Nations exchanged views on resolving the political and security issues, and the release of prisoners and detainees, said the envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The teams were formed from members of the warring delegations on Wednesday when direct talks resumed following a three-day interruption after the government delegation walked out in protest against the seizure of an army camp by the rebels.

The talks were entering their third week on Thursday, but there has yet to be a breakthrough with delegations trading accusations of violating the ceasefire that took effect on April 11.

"We have learned that ceasefire violations were committed in the past two days and this is a disturbing development," Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a news conference.

The UN special envoy urged those involved in the negotiators not to allow the ceasefire violations to impact the ongoing peace talks.
He said a joint UN-sponsored ceasefire monitoring committee had been asked to investigate clashes on the ground and submit detailed reports.

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