UN-brokered talks resume in Kuwait on ending Yemen war

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2016 1:47 PM

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — U.N.-brokered talks aimed at ending Yemen's civil war resumed in Kuwait on Wednesday.

U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said on Twitter the talks began after all sides in the conflict agreed to form a committee to look into what happened in the governorate of Amran, which reportedly came under attack by Yemen's Shiite rebels. That attack had halted earlier talks in Kuwait City.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric later said that at Wednesday's plenary discussion, the Yemeni parties agreed on the creation of three committees — on political matters, military and security issues, and dealings with prisoners. He said the parties planned to continue discussions into the evening.

Yemen's internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, is fighting the rebels, known as Houthis, who seized the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. The Saudi-led forces entered the conflict in March 2015.

In over a year since the Saudi intervention, U.N. figures say the war has killed nearly 9,000 people — a third of them civilians. Airstrikes account for 60 percent of the civilians killed in the conflict, according the United Nations, which has criticized the Saudi-led coalition's strikes on markets, clinics and hospitals.

The war has devastated Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, with many unable to access hospitals, schools or electricity. More than 14 million Yemenis lack access to sufficient food, and some 2.4 million people have been displaced.

Late Tuesday, the U.N. welcomed the start of its program to screen sea shipments coming to Yemeni ports not controlled by the government. It said that will speed the arrival of food and other supplies while stopping illegal weapons shipments.