January 9, 2016 / 7:49 AM / 2 years ago

U.N. Yemen envoy suggests Geneva location for peace talks

CAIRO (Reuters) - The United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen has suggested Geneva as a location for holding peace talks due to restart this month on ending conflict in the war-torn country, Saba news agency reported late on Friday.

U.N. Secretary-General Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed speaks to the media after the Yemen peace talks in Switzerland in Bern December 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made the suggestion in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh while meeting various members of the government of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and political groupings leaning toward him, the pro-Hadi Saba agency reported.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Muslim allies has been fighting the Shi‘ite Houthi movement, which controls the capital, since March of last year.

The warring sides held their latest round of peace talks in December but failed to find a political solution that would end the conflict, which has killed nearly 6,000 people. Negotiations are set to resume on Jan. 14.

Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who retains the loyalty of the armed forces despite having stepped down from office nearly four years ago after months of protests, joined forces with the Iran-allied Houthis in fighting the Saudi-led alliance trying to shore up Hadi.

Saleh said on Friday that he would not negotiate with Hadi’s government, throwing into doubt the fate of the peace talks.

The U.N. envoy is due to travel to Sanaa soon after his Riyadh visit.

Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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