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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 January 2019

British foreign secretary to meet both sides at Yemen talks in Stockholm

Jeremy Hunt will also meet with the United Nations Secretary General and the special envoy in Sweden

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz talks to the UK's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, in Riyadh. AP
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz talks to the UK's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, in Riyadh. AP

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will attend the UN-led Yemen peace talks in Stockholm on Thursday. The visit is a culmination of his efforts during visits to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran where he tried to kickstart a political process to bring an end to the Yemen conflict.

Mr Hunt will meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN special envoy Martin Griffiths. He will also meet with members of the government of Yemen and the Houthi delegation, the first time a UK minister has met with Houthi officials since the conflict began.

Ahead of the visit, Mr Hunt said that "Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, and these peace talks represent the best opportunity in years to move towards the political solution the people of Yemen urgently need. I applaud the historic strides the UN special envoy has already made in bringing the parties together for the first time since 2016".

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Read more:

Yemen’s warring parties close to Sanaa airport deal, sources say

Yemen government and Houthi rebels exchange lists ahead of planned prisoner swap

Beyond the Headlines podcast: Yemenis continue to suffer as warring sides negotiate

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Since being appointed to the role in July 2018, Mr Hunt has made the conflict a higher priority than his predecessor, Boris Johnson, had.

Mr Hunt continued: “Some of the important confidence building measures I discussed in my recent visits to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran – including the evacuation of wounded Houthis from Yemen and a potential prisoner swap – have been agreed and delivered. But the most important measure for a lasting peace is dialogue, and we are already seeing the benefits of talks between the government of Yemen and the Houthi delegation.”

“For our part,” he concluded, “the UK will continue to use all tools at our disposal to bolster the UN Special Envoy. This includes through our work in the Security Council.”

The National reported late on Wednesday night that the warring parties in the conflict were close to a deal over Sanaa airport, according to sources.

Updated: December 13, 2018 10:58 AM

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