UN Yemen envoy planning new talks in Sweden, welcomes news of ceasefire in Hodeidah
NEW YORK: UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths told a Security Council session on Friday that he intends to convene peace talks "shortly" in Sweden in a bid to end a war that has driven "millions to the brink of famine."
Griffiths also welcomed the news of a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah.
He added that the Saudi-led coalition backing the legitimate government of Yemen and the Houthi militia had shown a "renewed commitment" to work on a political solution and have given "firm assurances" that they will attend the talks, Martin Griffiths told the council.
"I will go to Sanaa next week ... I will also be happy to travel myself, if necessary, with the delegation to the consultations," Griffiths said. He is aiming to convene talks before the end of the year.
Griffith said he believed he was close to resolving preparatory issues to allow the talks in Sweden to happen.
"I am grateful to the coalition for agreeing our proposed logistical arrangements, and to the coalition and Oman for their agreement to facilitate the medical evacuation of some injured Yemenis out of Sanaa," he told the 15-member Security Council.
He also said: "We have to seize positive international momentum to resolve the Yemen crisis peacefully, we are working to bring together both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue."
Griffiths also said the parties were about to conclude an agreement on the exchange of prisoners and detainees.
Meanwhile, UN food chief David Beasley said on Friday that the situation in Yemen was "a catastrophe," and that there had to be immediate action to protect the Yemeni people, especially children, in the face of food shortages.