Kuwait City – UN-brokered peace talks to end 13 months of armed conflict in Yemen opened in Kuwait City on Thursday evening after a rebel delegation arrived following a three-day delay, state television reported.
The talks grouped representatives of Yemen’s government, Houthi delegation and their allies from ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party, along with UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled Al-Sabah opened the meeting by hailing the talks as “a historic opportunity” to end the bloodshed.
“War will only lead to more devastation, losses and displacement of people,” he said.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed appealed to the warring parties to work to reach a comprehensive and durable accord to end hostilities.
“Today, you have one of two options; a secure nation that guarantees an honourable life or the ruins of a nation,” he said.
More than 6,400 people have been killed and almost 2.8 million displaced since a Saudi-led coalition began operations in March 2015 against the Iran-backed rebels who have seized swathes of territory, including the capital Sanaa.
Talks were initially scheduled to start on Monday but were delayed after the rebels failed to show up in protest at what they described as Saudi violations of a ceasefire, in effect since April 11
The United Nations along with Kuwait have been pushing the talks that it hopes will end a conflict in Yemen.