UN envoy says still hopeful for Houthi delegation to join Geneva talks

UN envoy says still hopeful for Houthi delegation to join Geneva talks

GENEVA (Rahnuma): Despite the obvious absence of the Houthi delegation on the first day of the scheduled new peace talks in Geneva, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths on Thursday said he was “hopeful” to see the delegation present at the Geneva talks so as to expedite the political process.

In a statement issued by his office Thursday afternoon, the UN envoy said that he is now making efforts to overcome obstacles to allow the talks to go forward.

“The Special Envoy is mindful of the challenges associated with bringing the parties together to Geneva, bearing in mind that they haven’t met for two years,” the statement said.

Griffiths met with the Government of Yemen delegation, headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled al Yamani, Thursday morning and exchanged ideas on the expectations of the scheduled new talks in Geneva and relevant issues to the peace process.

According to previous arrangements, the Yemeni parties were in principle expected to be inside the Palais des Nations, or the UN headquarters in Geneva Thursday morning, but a latest notice from the UN said that “there will be no activity at the Palais des Nations” throughout Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Griffiths announced here in Geneva that all the relevant parties to the Yemen conflict agreed that the time has come to restart the political process and both the government and the Houthi sides will kick off a new peace talks in Geneva on Sept. 6.

However, uncertainty has been increased Thursday, with the absence of the Houthi delegation on the first day of the scheduled UN-led talks.

According to the latest news report, the Yemen government has given the Houthi 24 hours to join UN-sponsored talks in Geneva.

Earlier on Wednesday, while answering concerns about “do you actually expect the Houthis to arrive”, Griffiths told reporters that “we will make it happen”.

“We are working at it, I think it will sort itself out,” he said, adding that “if you look at previous negotiations on Yemen, there’s always been a delay to begin”.

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