Second round of Yemen peace talks resumes in Kuwait

Kuwait City: A second round of the UN-facilitated peace talks between Yemen's warring parties resumed in Kuwait after a two-week break, government officials said. The negotiations aimed at ending the civil war, bringing security and stability to the war-torn Middle East country were officially halted late last month and were scheduled to resume on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed confirmed that the talks were held on Saturday evening with the presence of representatives from the two warring rivals. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik Mekhlafi, who heads the government's peace negotiating team, said on Twitter that "the government decided to return to the peace talks after receiving written response from the UN envoy to our previous demands." The upcoming talks will continue for about two weeks and will mainly focus on discussing withdrawal from cities, handing over government facilities, release of prisoners and lifting siege on cities, he said. The Foreign Minister added that "we agreed with the UN envoy that the two-week duration of the negotiations won't be extended more and no other topics will be debated." The delegation of the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies from General People's Congress Party arrived in Kuwait on Friday from Yemen. Yemeni political observers said that the UN-brokered peace talks that kicked off in Kuwait City on April 11 failed to reach any tangible breakthroughs to end the conflict after more than two months of negotiations. Delegates of the government strongly insisted that they represent Yemen's sole legitimate governing authority, and call for the full implementation of last year's UN Security Council Resolution 2216. The resolution orders Houthi militias to withdraw from capital Sanaa and all other cities occupied earlier, hand over weapons and release political prisoners before forming a new sharing transitional government. However, the Houthis have said that they represent the country's de facto rulers and urged to form a new transitional government before discussing withdrawal from cities and the other topics.