Kuwait emir urges Yemen negotiators to achieve peace

Sunday 24/04/2016
Negotiations represent best hope in months

KUWAIT CITY - The Kuwaiti emir met with Yemen\'s peace negotiators Tuesday and urged them to forge ahead with a peace agreement to end 13 months of war in the impoverished Arab nation.
A source close to the talks in Kuwait City meanwhile said the two sides finally approved a general framework for the talks and were set to start looking into the central issues.
More than 6,800 people have been killed and around 2.8 million displaced since a Saudi-led Arab coalition began operations in March 2015 against the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels who have seized swathes of territory, including the capital Sanaa.
State-run KUNA news agency said Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah met with the rebel and government delegations separately and also received UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, but provided no details.
\"We heard from the emir of Kuwait clear assurances with regards to supporting the political process to reach a settlement,\" said Mohammed Abdulsalam, head of the Huthi delegation.
The emir warned that war can only lead to more devastation and bloodshed, Abdulsalam wrote on Facebook.
A source close to the government delegation said Sheikh Sabah \"urged the two sides to reach a political settlement.\"
Following the meeting with the emir, a new session of talks was held, a UN spokesman said.
The UN Security Council on Monday urged all sides in the negotiations to be constructive.
The 15-member council stressed the importance of agreeing on a \"roadmap\" to implement security measures including the withdrawal of heavy weapons.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Monday welcomed \"tangible progress\" to end hostilities in the war-torn country.
\"Reports indicate real improvement in the situation which reflects the parties\' commitment to the cessation of hostilities,\" he said in a statement at the end of the fifth day of negotiations.
The negotiations represent the best hope in months for a settlement to the conflict.
But since the delayed talks began on Thursday, the two delegations have been unable to reach a common understanding on how to firm up a ceasefire that went into effect on April 11.
The rebels have insisted that no ceasefire can be established without an end to coalition air strikes and sorties.
The government side wants the rebels to lift the siege on cities, open humanitarian passages and release prisoners.