UN : Yemen talks in Sweden

United Nations intends to convene peace talks on Yemen soon after receiving firm assurances from the parties that they will attend negotiations in Sweden, the UN envoy said Friday.

The Saudi-backed government and the Huthi rebels have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution to end a war that has driven millions to the brink of famine, Martin Griffiths told the Security Council.

“With this in mind, I intend to reconvene the parties shortly and to do so in Sweden,” he said. “I believe we are close to resolving issues to make this happen.”

“I have received firm assurances from the leadership of the Yemeni parties … that they are committed to attending these consultations. I believe they are genuine.”

Griffiths plans to travel to the rebel-held capital of Sanaa next week to finalize arrangements and offered to travel with the Huthi delegation to Sweden “if that´s what is needed.”

The United Nations had announced talks in Geneva in September that never materialized after the Huthis put forward last-minute demands.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has agreed to “logistical arrangements” to pave the way for talks including medical evacuations out of Sanaa, he added.

Griffiths announced he was close to reaching a deal on an exchange of prisoners and detainees, in a further confidence-building measure ahead of planned talks.

“This is a crucial moment for Yemen,” he said, warning that a flareup of fighting on the ground could derail the peace effort. No date for the talks was announced.

On Monday, Britain will present a draft resolution to the Security Council to address the crisis in Yemen, Ambassador Karen Pierce said, as diplomatic efforts to end the war gathered pace.

The measure is aimed at shoring up the UN push for peace talks and ensure access for humanitarian aid to millions in Yemen facing famine.

No timing was announced for a vote on the measure, but diplomats said it could be quickly adopted.

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