United Nations, Dec 6: Hopes are high that the warring parties in Yemen will begin long-delayed consultations on Thursday over ending the conflict that has ravaged the Middle East nation for over three years, leaving millions of civilians dependent on international assistance.
According to a tweet early on Wednesday from the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, the “restart of the intra-Yemeni political process” is scheduled to begin in the Swedish capital, Stockholm within hours.
He extended his 'appreciation to the Government of Sweden for hosting the political consultations, and the Government of Kuwait for facilitating the travel of the Sana’a delegation' to the talks, referring to representatives of the Houthi rebel movement, who were allowed to fly out of the Yemeni capital a few days ago.
The UN attempted to bring the parties together, the Houthis and officially-recognised Government delegation in Geneva in September for consultations, but conditions to allow the Houthi delegation to reach the Swiss city, did not materialise.
Across Yemen, more than 22 million people, over three-quarters of the population – are dependent on humanitarian assistance or protection, of whom over 8 million are severely food insecure and at risk of starvation.
The conflict, which escalated in early 2015, following a Saudi-led military intervention against a Houthi rebel insurgency, at the request of the Yemeni Government, has also wrecked the country’s medical, water and sanitation systems, resulting in multiple outbreaks of cholera and other deadly diseases.
Thousands of civilians have also perished in airstrikes and fighting.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), all parties to the conflict display a disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law and have impeded the principled and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance. (UNI)