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UN Special Envoy for Yemen in Riyadh for Peace Talks

The United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen has arrived in Riyadh for talks with members of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, who were exiled after Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels captured the capital Sanaa four years ago. The armed coup prompted Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim countries, foremost the United Arab Emirates, to intervene in the conflict militarily in March 2015. The ensuing war has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions to the brink of starvation. The UN mediator, Martin Griffiths, is in the Gulf region with a view to advancing the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, which was signed by the warring parties in December 2018 in Sweden. The deal called for a cease-fire in the crucial port city of Hodeidah; a prisoner exchange; and outlined “understandings” related to Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city. In a report published earlier this month, the UN conceded that only “modest” progress had been made toward achieving a political solution to end the conflict, but argued that the Stockholm Agreement constituted a “major [step] on the road to building confidence between the… parties” and was “the basis for any successful peace-building effort.”