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Houthi rebels arrive in Sweden for Yemen peace talks

Houthi rebels arrive in Sweden for Yemen peace talks”

Yemeni Houthi officials are expected to travel to Sweden shortly for talks as early as on Wednesday to end the almost four-year-old war after the Saudi-led coalition allowed the evacuation of some of their wounded for treatment.

Although no date has been announced for the start of the negotiations, Yemeni government sources say they could begin on Thursday.

The resulting humanitarian crisis, already the world's worst, will deteriorate in 2019, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning the number of people needing food aid is set to jump by four million.

Yemen's Foreign Minister, Khaled al-Yamani, said on Tuesday that his government had "come to an agreement" with the Houthis after spending the "past eight to nine months locked in negotiations".

Griffiths shuttled between the parties to salvage a previous round that collapsed in September after the Houthis failed to show up.A Houthi official told Reuters that their delegation could travel on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Thousands of prisoners have been captured by both sides in the grinding war of attrition that has devastated Yemen at a cost of almost 10,000 lives since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015, according to World Health Organization figures.

The release of funds from overseas by Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to pay state employees in rebel-held territory is also in the works.

The talks are also expected to discuss the reopening of Sanaa global airport and the payment of salaries to civil servants in Houthi-held areas.

Houthi militias doubt the success of peace talks on Yemen expected to be held in Sweden this week, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesman and chief negotiator for the Ansarullah movement, wrote on his official Facebook page Tuesday.

Maysaa Shuja al-Deen, a non-resident fellow at the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, said securing prisoners was a major objective for the government as it headed into these talks.

On Monday, a UN-chartered plane carrying 50 wounded Houthi fighters and three Yemeni doctors left Sana'a for Oman's capital, Muscat, for treatment.

The nearly four years of the Yemeni war have killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, displaced 3 million others, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Worldwide outrage over the October 2 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate has refocused attention on the Yemen war and scrutiny over Saudi Arabia's activities in the region.

The coalition has largely suspended its offensive on Hodeida in the face of US-led calls for a ceasefire and new peace talks.

The oil-rich Gulf emirate has been a mediator in the devastating conflict.

"A stable state, important for the region, can not coexist with unlawful militias", Gargash said.

The alliance intervened in the war in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi but has faced military stalemate, despite superior air power, since seizing the southern port city of Aden that year.

"UN Security Council Resolution 2216 offers a workable roadmap".



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