Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Yemen's Houthi rebels head to Sweden for expected peace talks

Yemen's Houthi rebels head to Sweden for expected peace talks

Abdullah Al-Alimy, head of Yemen's Presidency Office, said on his official Twitter account that the government delegation will put the concerns and aspirations of the Yemeni people as the priority.

Griffiths hopes to reach a deal on reopening Sanaa airport and securing a prisoner swap and a ceasefire in Hodeidah as a foundation for a wider truce, including a halt to coalition air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians and Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities.

Hadi Haig, a government official, told the AFP news agency that the deal covered between 1,500 and 2,000 pro-government forces and between 1,000 and 1,500 Houthi rebels.

The last attempt to hold Yemen peace talks failed in September after the Houthi delegation didn't show up.

"The country with the biggest problem in 2019 is going to be Yemen", OCHA chief Mark Lowcock told reporters in Geneva.

The expected talks come after the coalition approved the transfer of 50 wounded Houthi rebels to the Omani capital Muscat for treatment on Monday.

The rebels had said they would attend the talks in Sweden if they were guaranteed safe passage and the evacuations.

Although no date has been announced for the start of the talks, Yemeni government sources say they could get under way on Thursday.

China agrees to 'reduce and remove' tariffs on U.S. cars
The truce boosted global markets on Monday with world stocks up almost 1 percent. "I don't agree with that", he said. The president also touted an agreement with China to reduce tariffs on cars entering China from the United States.

A United Nations source said efforts were being made to reopen Sanaa International Airport, closed for the past three years because of the war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Yemeni government backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

The US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "We have no illusions, and we know that this process will not be easy, but we welcome this first necessary and vital step".

On the government side, they include former defence minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi, who has been held by the rebels ever since they overran the capital in late 2014, and President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's brother Nasser, a general and former senior intelligence official.

Abdul Qader al Murtaza, the chairman of the Houthi administration's Committee for Prisoner Affairs, didn't specify the numbers involved but said the agreement marked the first step toward resolving Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

Back in June, the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on the port city of Hudaydah despite worldwide warnings that it would compound the war-torn nation's humanitarian crisis. Three-quarters of the population, or 22 million, rely on aid.

The nearly four years of the Yemeni war have killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, displaced 3 million others, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

A coalition-backed government offensive on the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida has threatened to cut virtually the only gateway for UN-supervised aid.

The coalition spokesman said military operations in Hodeida were "ongoing" on Monday.

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