The Latest: Yemen rebels accept some of UN envoy’s proposals
CAIRO (AP) — The Latest on developments related to Yemen’s four-year civil war (all times local):
Yemen’s rebels at peace talks underway in Sweden say they accept some of the proposals from a draft agreement offered by the U.N. envoy earlier in the day.
Abdul-Majid al-Hanash, a delegate from Yemen’s rebels, also known as Houthis, says their side has accepted U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths’ proposal on the contested port city of Hodeida.
He told reporters on Wednesday that the rebels agree to a halt to all fighting in Hodeida, withdraw troops from the city and its port, and later from the surrounding province, while allowing U.N. oversight and the setting up of a local administration for Hodeida.
Al-Hanash did not say where the rebels stand on the other points in Griffiths’ proposed agreement.
The warring sides have until the closing of the talks on Thursday to consider the proposal.
The office of the U.N. envoy for Yemen says the representatives of the country’s warring sides at the talks in Sweden have been given a draft document of agreements they need to consider before this round of negotiations wraps up.
The draft includes a proposal on a political framework, an agreement on the reopening of the airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and a proposal on the contested key Red Sea port city of Hodeida.
Hanan Elbadawi, a spokeswoman for U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths, says the U.N. envoy is awaiting the “responses from the two parties before announcing the details of the set of agreements.”
She says: “We are hoping to receive the responses from two parties by the end of today, and today for us, never ends until we announce the closing (of the talks) tomorrow at 11 a.m.”
Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani says the next round of talks between the country’s warring parties could take place at the end of January.
Al-Yamani told The Associated Press on Wednesday in the Swedish town of Rimbo, where the current round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks is underway, that the venue for the next round hasn’t been decided yet.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the government side are to wrap up this round in Sweden on Thursday after a week of negotiations at a castle in Rimbo.
He says “tomorrow at 11 o’clock, we’ll have the closing ceremony.”
An international group tracking Yemen’s civil war says the conflict has killed more than 60,000 people since 2016.
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project — or ACLED — says more than 28,000 people were killed in the first 11 months of 2018, up 68 percent from 2017. More than 3,000 were killed in November, the deadliest month since the group started collecting data.
The figures include both combatants and civilians.
The group said in a report issued on Tuesday that it recorded more than 3,000 attacks on civilians, killing some 6,500, but that figure doesn’t include civilians killed in ground battles between the various sides.
ACLED’s figures do not include the last few months of 2014, when Yemen’s Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, nor the casualties in 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition joined the war on the side of the government.
The group bases its figures on press reports of each incident of violence in the war.
A Yemeni official says the next round of peace talks between the country’s warring sides could take place as early as January.
Marwan Damaj, culture minister in Yemen’s internationally recognized government, says the venue and the exact timing are still being considered.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the government side, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, are to wrap up the current round of U.N.-sponsored negotiations in Sweden on Thursday.
Damaj says the two sides are currently discussing the U.N. envoy’s proposals on the embattled port city of Hodeida and the airport in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital.
He says the government wants the rebels to withdraw from Hodeida, after which the sides could discuss other steps, including allowing U.N. oversight and setting up a local, pre-war administration of the city.