04/12/2016, 10.16
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Fragile UN ceasefire holds in Yemen. Hopes for peace talks in Kuwait

According to a UN spokesman the cease-fire "seems to be working", although there have been "some pockets of violence". UN diplomat: more meaningful perspective for talks between the parties. Negotiations center on the withdrawal of militias and armed groups and restoration of state institutions.

Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The cease-fire that began yesterday in Yemen seems to be holding.  The nation has been the theater of a bloody war between the coalition to the Saudi leadership - supporting government forces - and the Houthi rebels, close to Iran for more than a year.

The truce came into effect from midnight on 11 April and, according to reports from the UN spokesman, "the cessation of hostilities seems to be largely working” in most of the country. However, he adds that there have been "some pockets of violence" in certain areas.

Local sources speak of violations of the ceasefire by the rebels around Taez.  At the same time the Houthis complain of "at least one air raid" by the Saudi coalition in the same province east of the capital, Sanaa.

The ceasefire should pave the way for peace talks scheduled for April 18 in Kuwait and allow delivery of humanitarian aid to the areas under siege.

According to sources of the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 6,200 people have been killed in the war; for the United Nations there is a strong risk of  a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Yemen.

The UN leaders in the country say they expect further progress towards peace, because - a first attempt at negotiations failed - Saudi Arabia seems more willing to make a deal to arrive at the end of the conflict. "There is a more meaningful perspective - said one UN Security Council diplomat - for talks [of peace]."

The peace meetings will focus on five areas in particular: the withdrawal of militias and armed groups; the delivery of heavy weapons to the State; provisional safety measures; restoration of state institutions; the recovery of an inclusive political dialogue.

Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war pitting the country’s Sunni leadership, backed by Saudi Arabia, against Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the rebels in an attempt to free the capital For Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, who are allied to forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, are militarily supported by Iran, a charge the latter angrily rejects.

Groups linked to al Qaeda and jihadist militias linked to the Islamic State group are active in the country, which adds to the spiral of violence and terror.

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