MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced the talks at a media stakeout last week, stressing that the necessary time will be taken to "ensure that we have a lasting and sustainable peace process."
Ahmed said the Yemeni government, the Houthi rebels and the General People’s Congress (GPC) will be represented by their respective officials and spokespersons at the negotiations.
Yemen has been engulfed in conflict between President-in-exile Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Shiite Houthi rebels, supported by army units loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The GPC was founded by Saleh over three decades ago and is seen as loyal to the former leader despite its endorsement of Hadi in 2012.
Media reports stated that government forces and the Houthis continued to clash hours ahead of the scheduled ceasefire.
The United Nations estimated some 5,800 mostly civilians died since Saudi Arabia launched an anti-Houthi campaign at Hadi’s request in March. Four out of five Yemenis are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, which held talks with GPC senior leadership last week, expressed hope the inter-Yemeni contacts would be an important step toward reaching a stable peace and national consensus.