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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Houthi rebels arrive in Sweden to participate in UN peace talks

Yemeni government delegation led by foreign minister also expected to arrive on Wednesday in Stockholm

Police guard Johannesberg Castle in Rimbo about 50 kilometres north of Stockholm where peace talks on Yemen are expected to take place. EPA
Police guard Johannesberg Castle in Rimbo about 50 kilometres north of Stockholm where peace talks on Yemen are expected to take place. EPA

A Houthi delegation, accompanied by the United Nations envoy to Yemen, arrived in Sweden late on Tuesday to take part in peace talks, a UN representative told The National.

Martin Griffiths and the rebel team left Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Tuesday afternoon in a Kuwaiti-chartered plane, accompanied by the country's ambassador to Yemen.

“The Houthi delegation, along with Mr Griffiths, have officially arrived on Tuesday night to Sweden. Rebel spokesman, Mohammad Abdul Salam, arrived in the afternoon from Oman. [T]he remaining delegates are expected to travel to Stockholm from Muscat on Wednesday,” the representative said.

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The arrival was confirmed by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Twitter.

The development came one day after 50 wounded Houthi fighters were allowed to fly to Oman for treatment as part of a series of confidence-building measures.

A delegation from Yemen’s internationally recognised government is expected to arrive in Sweden on Wednesday, a Yemeni official told The National.

The 12 officials will be headed by Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani, and will hope to negotiate an end to Yemen’s deteriorating humanitarian situation.

A Houthi rebel delegation prepares to fly on a Kuwaiti plane accompanied by the UN's peace envoy from Sanaa on Wednesday. AFP Photo
A Houthi rebel delegation prepares to fly on a Kuwaiti plane accompanied by the UN's peace envoy from Sanaa on Wednesday. AFP Photo

Other prominent officials attending will be Abdullah Al Alimi, head of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi’s office; Abdulaziz Jabari, an adviser to Mr Hadi; Yassin Makkawi, another Hadi adviser and a leader of Yemen’s Southern Movement

The UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is seen during his departure at Sanaa airport. Reuters
The UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is seen during his departure at Sanaa airport. Reuters

The Yemeni government previously said it would wait for the Houthi delegation to leave Sanaa for Sweden before travelling to the peace talks themselves.

Although no official date for the negotiations has been set, government officials say they may begin on either Wednesday or Thursday this week.