In suburbs of the Swedish capital Stockholm Yemeni peace talks kicked off on Thursday, with the presence of delegation of both the internationally recognized Yemeni government and Houthi Group.
The conflict in Yemen is solvable, if there is political will, said the UN envoy as talks is commencing, with great international effort in place to end the nearly 4-year war in the impoverished country.
"I hope that a deal will be reached on war de-escalation," Envoy Martin Griffiths said at press conference shared by Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom.
"No doubt that Yemen's future is at hand of participants in consultations," he added hoping that talks will lead to concrete progress for the interest of Yemenis and alleviation of their sufferings.
Mr. Griffiths said negotiations have not yet started, and talks in Sweden are meant to set political general framework, noting that last week saw complicated consultations to hold a round of talks.
"It was not easy to convene Yemeni crisis's parties face to face under field escalation," he added. "The delegation have signaled they want a reduction in violence, and my previous meetings with Yemenis push me to say that we are before constructive talks."
The UN envoy said there is a need to solve crisis, as Yemeni people's suffering is deteriorating day after day. "If we do not succeed in solving the crisis, half of Yemeni people risks famine, epidemics, diseases and economic situation breakdown."
He said the talks will discuss reopening Sana'a Airport, reduction in violence, delivery of human aids, helping improve economic situation and measures of confidence-building.
Both sides agreed to a prisoner swap, which would allow for reunion of thousands of families, he added.
The UN has a proposal on reopening Sana'a Airport and will be introduced to Yemeni parties at talks, Griffiths said pressing for Hodeida city and port to be kept away from battles raged in Yemen.
"We seek a pack based on the Gulf Initiative, the National Dialogue Conference and Security Council's Resolution 2216," UN envoy said, thanking Kuwait, Oman and Saudi-led coalition for facilitating the start of Yemeni peace talks.
The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs urged parties to hold constructive talks to achieve needed progress and halt human catastrophe in Yemen.
"We have to stop human catastrophe in Yemen," said Margot Wallstrom. "It is the responsibility of Yemeni parties to help UN envoy's efforts succeed."
The talks are held in Johannesburg Castel, some 60 km to the north of the Swedish capital, and will last for one week according to UN sources.
Threats and Conditions
Hours before talks, head of Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee threatened to close Sana'a Airport to UN planes if talks could not lead to decision to reopen the airport for civil flights.
Let "UN and other officials endure arrival in Sana'a as do Yemeni sick people and travellers who take nearly 15 hours to reach on land," Mohammed Ali al-Houthi tweeted.
On their part, Yemeni legitimate government reiterated their adherence to implementation of UNSC Resolution 2216 and reception of Hodeida port.
Hadi Foreign Minister called for "militia to leave all the western coast and submit the area to legitimate government."
Will Talks Mechanisms bring about Sustainable Solution?
Houthi Politburo member stated that "no comprehensive, sustainable solution can be reached under talks' mechanisms adopted in the UN course, which lets war-end decision at the hand of foreign powers."
Mohammed al-Bokhaiti argued that there should be two courses for dialogue. "The one is interior in the form of resuming political process.. in order to reach a deal on forming transitional authority tasked with preserving Yemen's sovereignty and independence, protecting people freedom and rights, imposing control over all provinces, and disarming all parties to conflict.
"The second course is exterior, between Houthis and the quartet (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Britain and USA), to reach an agreement on stopping war and allow for Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue to succeed."
He hoped that the UN course will help reduce Yemenis' suffering, in implementing the release of prisoners and detainees, reopening all ports, and neutralizing economy to assure salary payment.
Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iran-backed Houthis had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014.
The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, leaving hundreds of thousands killed or injured and 3 million displaced, and pushing the country to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with more than two thirds of the 28-million population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 8.4 million people unsure how to get next meal, and some 2 million children suffering severe shortage of nutrition.