UAE supports ‘early convening’ of UN Yemen talks

Dubai: The United Arab Emirates, a leading member of a pro-government coalition fighting in Yemen, said Wednesday it supports a UN plan for peace talks to be held in Sweden by the year’s end.

“We welcome early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden,” the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted in English.

Gargash said the pro-government coalition would “urge all parties to take advantage of window of opportunity to restart the political process” at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday.

“We look forward to hosting (UN Yemen envoy) Martin Griffiths this week in Abu Dhabi,” Gargash added.

After failed peace talks in September, the UN is pushing to host a new round of negotiations between the Yemeni government alliance, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the country’s Iran-linked Huthi rebels by the end of the year.

The United States, Britain and France — three of the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia — have also called for an end to nearly four years of conflict, particularly in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

The Saudi-led alliance this month stepped up an offensive to take Hodeida, controlled by the Huthis since 2014. The city is home to Yemen’s most valuable port, crucial for food imports and aid delivery.

The Hodeida campaign has sparked fears of a new humanitarian crisis in war-hit, impoverished Yemen, where 14 million people face mass starvation.