Yemen government welcomes Kerry’s roadmap

Yemen government welcomes Kerry’s roadmap
US secretary of state says he agreed plan to resume peace talks in Yemen with a view to forming unity government

The Yemeni government on Saturday welcomed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan for resolving the conflict in the war-torn nation.

The government said it welcomed “in principle” the ideas proposed following Kerry’s meeting with his Gulf counterparts in Saudi Arabia, the official SABA news agency said.

Kerry said following talks in Jeddah on Thursday he agreed with Gulf states and the UN on a plan to resume peace talks in Yemen with a view to forming a unity government.

“We agreed on a renewed approach to negotiations with both a security and political track simultaneously working in order to provide a comprehensive settlement,” Kerry said.

“The final agreement … would include in the first phase a swift formation of a new national unity government, the withdrawal of forces from Sanaa and other areas and the transfer of all heavy weapons

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, including ballistic missiles, from the Houthis and forces aligned to them to a third party.”

The government said it welcomed any peaceful solution to the conflict provided it is in line with UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf initiative and the outcome of Yemen’s national dialogue.

On Friday, the Houthis rejected Kerry’s call for the transfer of the group’s ballistic missiles.

Yemen has been ravaged by civil war since late 2014, when Houthi rebels overran capital Sanaa and a number of other provinces, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

The conflict escalated last year when Saudi Arabia launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait between the Yemeni government and Houthis collapsed this month.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

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, more than three million Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict.