UN envoy, Yemen rebel chief meet ahead of peace talks: Rebels

Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, head of the Huthi rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Sanaa, Yemen Nov 22, 2018, 08.19 PM (IST)

UN envoy Martin Griffiths met with Yemeni rebel chief Abdulmalik al-Huthi Thursday to discuss logistics ahead of planned peace talks in Sweden in December, a rebel spokesman said.

The two men addressed "what can facilitate new discussions in December and procedures needed to transport injured and sick for treatment abroad and bring them back", Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdelsalam said on Twitter.

The rebel chief urged the UN to remain "balanced and neutral in its work to find a political solution", Abdelsalam added.

The conflict in Yemen, which escalated when the Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015, has killed thousands and sparked what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since then, according to the World Health Organization, though some rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

Peace talks aimed at ending the war in Yemen have been set for early December in Sweden, between Huthi rebels and the UN-recognized government, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

Mattis last month made a surprise call for a ceasefire in Yemen and urged warring parties to enter negotiations within the next 30 days.

The United Nations has now pushed that deadline back to the end of the year.

US Defence Secretary's comments came a day after US President Donald Trump vowed to stick with Saudi Arabia as an ally despite the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul October 2.

(With inputs from agencies)

Story highlights

The two men addressed 'what can facilitate new discussions in December and procedures needed to transport injured and sick for treatment abroad and bring them back', Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdelsalam said.