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Yemen's Opposition Pledges to Join Peace Talks

  • VOA News

FILE - Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, ride on a patrol truck as they chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen.

FILE - Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, ride on a patrol truck as they chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen.

Delegations from Yemen's Houthi rebels and their allies now say they will join U.N.-brokered peace talks in Kuwait, after staying home to protest alleged cease-fire violations by pro-government forces.

Representatives from both the Houthis and the party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which backs the Houthis, said they planned to arrive in Kuwait Wednesday or Thursday.

The United Nations tried to launch the negotiations on Monday, but officially postponed the talks when only the government delegation showed up.

After announcing the delay, U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed thanked the government "for its commitment" and said he hopes the Houthis do not miss the opportunity to put an end to the violence in Yemen.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all parties to negotiate in good faith and to begin the talks without delay.

"The Secretary-General is convinced that seizing this opportunity to move the process forward will help resolve outstanding issues and bring the end of this prolonged conflict closer," Ban's spokesman said in a statement. "The Yemeni people and the region deserve no less."

The Houthis seized Yemen's capital, Sana'a in September 2014, and in March of last year launched an offensive to the south that sent President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fleeing to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis responded by launching airstrikes in defense of Hadi's government.

The conflict has killed more than 6,400 people and created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

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