CAIRO – Peace consultations between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebel leadership are set to begin near the Swedish capital, the British ambassador to Yemen announced Wednesday on a video blog posted to the ambassador’s official twitter account.
Michael Aron, who is in the Scandinavian country and is set to attend the consultations, confirmed that the talks are to start Thursday at Johannesburg Castle, outside of Stockholm.
Aron explained that the delegation of the Yemeni government is to arrive in Sweden Wednesday with the head of the Houthi delegation.
The British ambassador added that he will personally travel to the castle to meet with the United Nations’ special envoy to Yemen, Aron’s compatriot, Martin Griffiths.
Houthi spokesman Mohamad Abdelsalam said on Tuesday, according to Yemeni press sources, that the Houthis would not hinder efforts aimed at making the peace talks successful.
On Monday, 50 wounded Houthis were allowed to fly to neighboring Oman for medical treatment, meeting one of the Houthi’s preconditions for peace talks.
The Houthis did not attend the last round of talks, convened by the UN in September in Geneva, because they were unable or unwilling to travel by air due to concerns that the Saudi-led military coalition would interfere with their flight, according to media reports.
The upcoming Thursday peace talks are to occur amid heavy fighting by coalition forces to take the Houthi-held port city of Hodeida, the main point of entry point for food and medicine for Yemen’s population.
The Arab country has been locked in a political and military crisis since popular regional uprisings began in 2011, with the Houthis taking control of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in September 2014, a move that spurred Saudi Arabia to go to war against the Houthis in 2015 with the support of the United Arab Emirates and other key Saudi allies.