UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Yemen’s warring parties on Tuesday to “engage in good faith” with his envoy on the conflict so that peace talks could start without further delay, his spokesman said.
U.N. mediator Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is seeking to persuade Yemen’s Houthi rebels to send representatives to peace talks in Kuwait as a shaky truce declared on April 10 teetered near collapse, delegates said earlier on Tuesday.
The talks had been due to start on Monday.
“The Secretary-General is convinced that seizing this opportunity to move the process forward will help resolve outstanding issues and bring the end of this prolonged conflict closer,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
He said Ban noted that the Yemeni government delegation had arrived in Kuwait for the talks, and he looked forward to the participation of the Houthis and representatives of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party.
Houthi negotiators have stayed put in the Yemen capital Sanaa, demanding the cessation of hostilities be fully observed before traveling to Kuwait for talks with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.
Any failure of the talks is likely to stoke intensified fighting between the Iran-allied Houthis and their partner Saleh on the one side, and Hadi supporters, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, on the other.
The United Nations has said that the Yemen war has killed more than 6,200 people and displaced millions of people in the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Al Qaeda and Islamic State have exploited the war to widen their influence.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Richard Chang