UN envoy to Yemen holds constructive talks with Houthi militia


Sanaa: UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg announced that he had “positive engagements” with the Houthi militia in capital Sanaa, calling on concerning parties to take bold steps to end the years-long war in the country.

Speaking to reporters after concluding his two-day talks, Grundberg said the discussions were “frank, detailed and constructive”, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said he was encouraged by the “positive and constructive atmosphere” and looked forward to holding further talks with the rebel group, Yemen’s internationally recognised government, as well as Saudi Arabia and Oman.

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“Moving forward, any agreement needs to deliver tangible benefits for all Yemenis. It should durably stop the violence through a cease-fire that ensures the safety of the Yemeni people,” Grundberg said, adding that any agreement should pave the way for an “inclusive, Yemeni-owned political process under the UN auspices”.

The UN envoy called for increasing aid access through the Sanaa airport and Hodeidah ports, resuming oil exports, and opening key roads.

After a year of relative calm in Yemen, Grundberg urged all sides to take “bold steps” to end the conflict that has ravaged the country for over eight years.

Grundberg arrived in Sanaa on Monday to meet with high-ranking leaders of the Houthi group.

The envoy’s visit comes after two diplomatic delegations from Oman and Saudi Arabia visited the city in early April and held direct talks with Houthi representatives, which the militia described as “serious and positive” and made progress on some issues.

Yemen has been embroiled in a years-long military conflict after the Houthi militia took control of several northern cities and ousted the government from Sanaa in 2014.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in a staggering number of casualties and has plunged the Arab world’s poorest country into humanitarian crises, including widespread famine.

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( With inputs from )

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