June 3, 2015 / 10:25 PM / 2 years ago

U.N. aims for June 14 Yemen talks in Geneva, say diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is planning to convene peace talks between Yemen’s warring factions in Geneva on June 14, a date agreed to by the war-torn country’s exiled government but not yet supported by Houthi militia, diplomats said on Wednesday.

Anti-Houthi fighters of the Southern Popular Resistance walk to the frontline of their fight against Houthi fighters in al-Memdara district of Yemen's southern port city of Aden June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, briefed the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors on Wednesday.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that while the Riyadh-based Yemeni government had agreed to meet in Geneva on June 14, the Houthis had not yet consented, according to diplomats at the briefing, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Plans for talks in Switzerland last week were postponed due to objections by the Yemeni government, which wants the Houthi militia to first quit Yemen’s main cities and recognize President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s authority.

The Houthis, who swept into Yemen’s capital Sanaa in September and fanned out across the country, want a ceasefire as a precondition for talks.

An Arab alliance has been bombing the Houthis since March 26 in a bid to restore Hadi to power. The Sunni Muslim states regard the Houthis as a threat to the stability of Yemen, which flanks the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chris Reese

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