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Yemen's warring factions meet in Sweden for peace talks news



Stockholm, Sweden – The UN Special Envoy appealed to Yemen's belligerents to "now act" the future of the war-torn country, as a representative of the government and Houthi rebels in UN-sponsored peace talks entered Sweden.

"Yemen's future lies in the hands of those in this area," said United Nations UN envoy to the United States, Martin Griffiths, in his opening remarks on Thursday in talks aimed at ending the devastating war. 19659002] "We need to act now before we lose control of the future of Yemen," he said.

"Both parties have demanded a de-escalation that provides an important backdrop for these talks, which is a serious show intent."

For the second time since the conflict began, officials of the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Representatives of the Houthi rebel movement participated in the talks to discuss ways to end the fighting, which killed an estimated 56,000 people and left an astounding 22 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Sources previously told Al Jazeera that the UN Special Envoy intends to launch a series of confidence-building measures at the talks in Rimbo, a remote town about 50 km north of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, "paving the way for future negotiations."

"I am also pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on detainees who have been forcibly detained," Griffiths said.

"This will reunite thousands of families.

" What we're going to do here and in the next few weeks is the implementation of this measure. "

While the warring sides will not meet in person, one with the Conversations trusted source said confidence Construction measures include negotiating a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah, large-scale prisoner swaps, the reopening of Sana'a International Airport and the payment of salaries to officials in the Houthi-held areas.

The Swedish Foreign Minister Margo Wallström said the talks could be "an important beginning."

"It is up to you, the warring parties, to have constructive talks with each other and with Martin [Griffiths]. Concessions, compromises and courage are needed, "she said.

But Yemen's foreign minister Khaled al-Yamani left little evidence that he would make concessions to his rival.

He rejected a proposal from the Houthi to form a formation form presidential council without president Hadi as "nonsense."

"They should withdraw from the state institutions and return them to the legitimate government. Besides, there will be no peace, "he told Al Jazeera.

" They should respect the will of the international community and surrender their weapons, ammunition and missiles.

"Apart from that there is no solution, no solution."

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allowed fifty injured Houthi rebels to neighboring Oman as part of the trust-building medical treatment program relocate. 1

9659019] Delegates take part in the peace talks [Faisal Edroos/Al Jazeera]

The coalition between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has been conducting a deadly military offensive against the Houthis since March 2015, after the Iranian-oriented rebels toppled President Hadi's internationally supported government.

On Tuesday, the government of Yemen declared it would agree to a large prisoner exchange with the Houthis. It is reported that as many as 2,000 pro-government forces could be exchanged for 1,500 Houthis.

"We have signed a prisoner exchange We look forward to [implementing]," said the Yemeni Foreign Minister to Al Jazeera.

Peace can only be achieved if the Saudis, Emiratis and Iranians stop meddling in the affairs of Yemen

Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist and co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

"On the road to the right direction"

The Houthis have told Al Jazeera that they are committed to the talks and are ready to accept them Hand over Hodeidah's strategic harbor to the UN. The port of Hodeidah is a lifeline to the humanitarian supply of the country's war-torn population.

The rebels have also promised to end all drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and end the alliance's air strikes.

Peter Salisbury, analyst and consultant to Yemen International Crisis Group, said the talks "seemed to go in the right direction".

"The Best Case The scenario is a broad agreement on these confidence-building measures, including something positive for Hodeidah, which will fend off the battle for port and city, and an agreement that will later come to an end

In the following months Of the deadly battles in the strategic seaport, the Saudi-UAE Alliance, which supports the Yemeni government, and Iran, which allegedly supports the Houthis, have agreed to that there can only be one political solution to the conflict.

But early Thursday, [1 9459007] Al Masirah, the media wing of the Houthis, said fighter jets killed at least three women in the city of Al-Duraymi in Hodeidah province.

"Although the process seems to be moving in the right direction, odds are in favor of a negative outcome," said Salisbury.

"If not in the talks, then within the next few weeks."

Shortly before talks begin, the Yemeni government should begin The rebels demanded the complete withdrawal from Hodeidah, while the Houthis threatened to shut down Sana'a Airport unless their claims have been met.

Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist and co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, said, "Peace can only be achieved if Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabians and Iranians stop penetrating Yemen."

"This intervention has damaged Yemen and the suffering of ordinary Yemenis increased, "she said.

"If this negative intervention is not reduced, Yemenis will not be able to reach a political agreement This preserves the sovereignty of the country."

D is free without bloodshed

Since the killing of Washington Post's columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October, international pressure to end the war has increased. 19659004] The Western powers have expressed their anger over the assassination, with countries such as Germany and Norway suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia and Senators in the US questioning Washington's strategic partnership with Riyadh.

On Wednesday, a bipartite group of senators met The Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is determined to be held accountable for alleged atrocities during the Yemen war.

WATCH: Yemenis & # 39; pray & # 39; upcoming talks will end the war (2:51)

A member of the Houthi delegation told Al Jazeera that the rebels hoped the consultations would eventually lead to "inclusive political dialogue".

"We hope that these negotiations will help make the case," al-Ajri said.

On Tuesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged the rival sides to adopt the dialogue, saying that the war only brought destruction to Yemenis.

"You should agree and without bloodshed not agree with wars like the people of a house," Ahmed said in a statement.

"Plan your growth and progress, and stick with the civilization you were once at the forefront."

The warring parties must sit down, apart from their partisan and personal achievements and the good and the bad Yemenis

Hamid Sharaf Ali, resident of Sanaa

& # 39; Yemen can not wait & # 39;

Since 2014, Yemen has been torn apart by conflict when Houthi, loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, conquered large areas of the country, including the capital, Sana'a.

Saudi Arabia launched a massive air campaign against the rebels in March 2015 to restore Hadi's government.

Since then, the US has supported the coalition, which now has priority support, consisting of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with arms and logistical support.

Until recently, Washington also fueled the Alliance's aircraft, which were responsible for more than 18,000 raids on the country.

According to Yemen Data Project, nearly a third of all bombing missions that hit non-military targets.

Inhabitants of the Yemeni capital urged warring parties to lift their differences and said that the country has reached an abyss. "Yemenis could not wait any longer."

Hamid Sharaf Ali, a security guard at the school, told Al Jazeera, "The warring parties must give up their partisan and personal achievements and seek good for Yemen and the Yemeni people."

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