GENEVA (AP) — Negotiators from Yemen’s warring sides have reached a deal to allow the resumption of humanitarian aid deliveries into the besieged city of Taiz, the U.N. special envoy for the country said Thursday.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed hailed “a major step forward” and a first important achievement in the U.N.-brokered peace talks in the Swiss village of Macolin, now in their third day.
A U.N. statement also said a large convoy carrying humanitarian aid had reached Taiz, and deliveries are expected to reach other cities, including Hajja and Saada, in coming days.
It said talks will continue over the next few days with a focus on achieving a “sustainable national cease-fire,” force withdrawals and the return of heavy weapons and control of public institutions to the state.
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Clashes erupted in several parts of Yemen and left at least 42 people dead on Wednesday, undermining a cease-fire whose start coincided with the peace talks in Switzerland between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels.
According to U.N. figures, the war in the Arab world’s poorest country has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels.
Previous efforts to end the violence have ended in failure. The government insisted the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, comply with a U.N. resolution that requires them to hand over weapons and withdraw from territory they captured over the past year. The Houthis want the country’s political future to be decided through negotiations.