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UN’s Ban to push peace talks with Yemen warring sides

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was to meet Sunday with Yemen’s warring sides in a bid to push forward peace talks that have made no headway after two months.

Ban, who arrived in Kuwait City late on Saturday, was to meet delegates from the Iran-backed rebels and the Yemeni government in a joint session on Sunday, according to a UN spokesman.

UN-backed talks between the Shiite Huthi rebels, who have seized control of large parts of the Arabian Peninsula country, and President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government have failed to achieve a breakthrough since starting in Kuwait on April 21.

UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has urged both sides to make concessions to end the conflict, which has cost more than 6,400 lives since March 2015 and displaced 2.8 million people.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed has put forward a peace roadmap that would see the formation of a unity government and the withdrawal and disarmament of the rebels.

But the Yemeni government is insisting the rebels withdraw from all territory they have seized since 2014 and hand back control of state institutions ahead of any political settlement.

The rebels for their part are demanding an agreement on a consensus president and unity government before signing any deal on military and security issues.

Despite a 15-month-old Saudi-led military intervention in support of Hadi’s government, the rebels and their allies remain in control of swathes of territory including the capital Sanaa.

Before the Yemen meeting, Ban was scheduled to hold talks with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, as well as the Gulf country’s prime minister and foreign minister.

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