Russia expects UN peace talks on Yemen to re-start quickly

7th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia's UN envoy said Thursday he expected UN-brokered peace talks on Yemen to re-start quickly and warned that sending ground forces to Yemen would be a reckless escalation.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he received assurances from Saudi and Qatari envoys that a meeting planned in Riyadh for May 17 will help pave the way to UN talks.

"They assured me that the meeting planned by President Hadi in Riyadh is not going to be an effort to replace the UN track. It might even help to resume the UN talks," Churkin told reporters.

"What we hope will happen is, very quickly, a quick cessation of all hostilities in Yemen and a resumption of those conversations," he said.

Hopes for an easing of fighting were buoyed when Saudi Arabia proposed a five-day humanitarian ceasefire on Thursday.

A Saudi-led coalition launched an air war on Yemen six weeks ago to push back an offensive by Shiite Huthi rebels that forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to go into exile.

In Riyadh for talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Huthi rebels and their backers to agree to the ceasefire and "find a peaceful way forward."

The Russian ambassador warned that sending ground forces to Yemen would be a "reckless escalation" after Yemen's UN mission sent the request to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

The new UN peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in Riyadh on Thursday to lay the groundwork for a new round of negotiations that could take place in Geneva.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with the Saudi crown prince, the interior minister, the deputy crown prince and the defense minister, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

It remained unclear whether the envoy would travel to Yemen or to Iran, which is backing the Huthis.

© 2015 AFP

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