Houthis open to more talks if Sweden negotiations are successful

Houthis open to more talks if Sweden negotiations are successful
A Houthi spokesman has said that the Yemeni rebel group would be open to more peace discussions if progress is made in Sweden.
2 min read
09 December, 2018
Yemen's warring parties began talks in Sweden on Thursday [Anadolu]
Yemen's Houthi rebels are open to more talks with the country's internationally-recognised government if progress is made this week at UN-brokered talks in Sweden, a spokesman said on Sunday. 

"If we leave these consultations having made progress - progress in building confidence and finding a framework - we can hold a new round of talks" in the coming months, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdelsalam told reporters.

The Houthi delegation says talks have been divided into five main sections, including discussions on a political framework and the opening of Sanaa airport for aid.

The talks opened on Thursday on an upbeat note, with the warring sides agreeing to a broad prisoner swap, boosting hopes that the talks would not deteriorate into further violence as in the past.

On Saturday, the Houthis' top negotiator called for the key Houthi-held port city of Hodeida to be declared a neutral zone following government demands that they leave the city. 

The Houthis also proposed that the capital Sanaa's airport be put under UN control

A Yemeni government official said on Saturday that Houthi rebels were "not serious" on finding common ground to end the devastating war.

Prior to the talks, UN officials sought to downplay expectations, saying they don't foresee rapid progress toward a political settlement.

The Sweden talks mark the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed at least 10,000 people since 2015 and triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates, as a Saudi-led military coalition continues to battle the country's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.