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Iran hails Yemen peace talks as 'promising'

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday hailed breakthroughs made in the UN-brokered peace talks between warring parties in Yemen a

Dec 13 2018

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday hailed breakthroughs made in the UN-brokered peace talks between warring parties in Yemen as "promising", adding it hoped future negotiations would bring about a final agreement.

"We welcome the agreements between the two sides overseen by the representative of the United Nations secretary general and see the positive steps and the preliminary agreements for continued talks as promising," said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced the breakthroughs in Sweden, where representatives of the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government and Huthi rebels held talks on ending the conflict, which has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Guterres said the warring sides agreed to a ceasefire in the lifeline port of Hodeida, and that all forces would be withdrawn from the city and its harbour.

The United Nations, he said, would play a "leading role" in monitoring the rebel-held port and facilitate aid access for the civilian population.

"This shows that Yemeni groups present in the talks well understand the sorry situation of Yemen's people, and have prefered preventing the worsening of the country's situation and the continuation of receiving humanitarian aid to their own interests," Ghasemi said.

He said Iran had played a "constructive role" in arranging the talks.

Brokered by UN special envoy Martin Griffiths earlier this month, the negotiations were the first between warring sides since 2016, when talks collapsed after more than three months.

The week-long round closed Thursday, but left a number of key issues unresolved.

A new round of talks is scheduled for the end of January.

Impoverished Yemen has been mired in fighting between the Huthi rebels and troops loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi since 2014.

But the war escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition stepped in on the government's side.

The conflict has since killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. But other rights groups believe the actual toll to be far higher.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2018