KUWAIT: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Yemen’s warring sides here yesterday and urged them to accept a peace plan in a bid to push forward talks that have made no headway even after two months. Ban, who arrived in Kuwait City late on Saturday, met the delegates from the rebel and the government factions in a joint session yesterday, according to a UN spokesman.
Earlier, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received yesterday at Bayan Palace, visiting United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his accompanying delegation.
The meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing Yemeni peace talks that aim to bring a political solution to the conflict in the war-torn nation, in addition to discussions of regional and international developments. HH the Amir presented the UN Secretary General with a ribbon emblazoned with the country’s colors as a token of appreciation for his efforts to promote peace all over the world.
The meeting was attended by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah.
The UN Secretary General appealed to the warring parties to accept a roadmap for peace and quickly reach a comprehensive settlement to the 15-month-old conflict. UN special envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed has repeatedly urged both sides to make concessions to end the conflict, which has cost more than 6,400 lives since March 2015 and displaced 2.8 million people.
The peace roadmap proposed by Ahmed calls for the formation of a unity government and the withdrawal and disarmament of the rebels.
“I ask both delegations to work seriously with my special envoy to agree to a roadmap of principles… and quickly reach a comprehensive agreement,” Ban told a joint meeting of the negotiators.
Ban also urged “the delegations to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and to show the responsibility and flexibility required to arrive at a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict.”
“There is an alarming scarcity of basic food items. The economy is in precarious condition. Whilst the cessation of hostilities is mostly holding, there have been serious violations, causing further casualties and suffering amongst the civilian population, including children,” Ban told the delegations. “This worrying situation gives you, the delegations to the Yemeni talks, a very serious responsibility.”
However, Ban expressed hope by the commitment of both delegations over a period of many weeks, and into this holy month, to reach a successful outcome.
But he noted that “time is not on the side of the Yemeni people. With every day that the conflict remains unresolved, their situation grows worse. The longer the conflict endures, the more time it will take for Yemen to recover. “The position of the international community is clear: the conflict must end, and Yemen must return to the transitional process and work towards the implementation of the Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.”
Ban urged the delegations to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and to show the responsibility and flexibility required to arrive at a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict. “Yemen is a country of extraordinary beauty, bountiful natural resources and an ancient and noble people. I encourage you to work for the goals of: ending the violence, addressing the roots of the conflict and working together to build a better future for all Yemenis. I can assure that you have wholehearted support of the United Nations to meet these goals.”
Ban also noted that he was encouraged by recent releases of prisoners of war and detainees. “I urge the release of all prisoners, including political detainees, journalists, civil society activists and others as a goodwill gesture ahead of the Eid holiday.”
Ban, who started the visit to the country earlier yesterday once again thanked His Highness the Amir for the commitment and hospitality. “I extend my best wishes to all and particularly the people of Yemen, for the upcoming Eid,” he concluded. – Agencies