UN official hopes for Yemen peace talks by month-end
UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said on Thursday he hoped peace talks to end the war in Yemen could start by the end of October despite “deep mistrust” between Saudi Arabia and Iran who back opposing sides.
Eliasson, speaking after meetings in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran, called for both Houthi fighters and the exiled Yemen government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to attend the UN-backed talks without pre-conditions.
Al Qaeda has gained territory and influence in Yemen, which also made a “strong logic” for resuming talks on a ceasefire and a political process, mediated by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, he said.
“I found both in Saudi and the UAE a desire, a will to move to the political phase as soon as possible. I asked both sides to make that case very strongly to the Hadi government,” Eliasson said, referring to the Riyadh-based Yemeni government.
But both Gulf states “felt the Houthis were encouraged by the Iranians to go on with their political ambitions”, he said.
“I told you also about the deep mistrust that exists between key actors, not least Saudi and the UAE on one side and Iran on the other. I need to balance possible optimism with this very serious problem that we have such a lack of trust among the different actors,” Eliasson said.
“We have been disappointed before. Geneva talks started but not much came out of it,” he said, referring to a round in June. Details