Yemen Civil War: Peace talks underway in Sweden
Updated 10:40, 10-Dec-2018
Yemen's warring sides are in Sweden for talks on ending more than three-years of armed conflict. So far, they've have agreed to a prisoner swap. Fighting has killed thousands, in what the UN has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. CGTN's Mariam Zaidi has details.
Could a remote Swedish town 50 kilometers north of Stockholm take its place in history? In the town of Rimbo, behind the guarded walls of this local castle, history is in the making. For the first time in two years, the internationally recognized Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Houthi rebel forces came face to face. Could a resolution to the ongoing war in Yemen be found here, as preliminary peace talks brokered by the UN got underway?
MARTIN GRIFFITHS UN YEMEN ENVOY "Let us be in no doubt that Yemen's future is in the hands of those of us in this room. The country's institutions are at risk. The fragmentation of the country is of enormous concern and we must act now before we lose control of the future of Yemen."
The talks aim to establish a framework for a peace agreement, to de-escalate violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and to reopen the main airport in Sanaa. But the peace talks also provided the opportunity for 12 Yemeni journalists to come to Sweden under the umbrella of a UNESCO initiative to provide impartial coverage.
MARION DESMURGER UNESCO "Video social media and articles, this is the main composition of the newsroom. The newsroom is led by an editor-in-chief who is actually an expert who has done this work with CFI and UNESCO in many different initiatives in the Arab region. The situation in Yemen now is that the media landscape is very polarized. Where a lot of media are driven by political agendas so there needs to be a third voice that comes that is providing balanced information to the Yemeni public."
But one voice very clear today was that of aid agencies who are warning that Yemen is close to a full-blown famine. And they are calling for safer passage to deliver aid in the country.
HERVE VERHOOSEL, SPOKESPERSON WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME "Millions of people in Yemen have nothing to eat. Today the World Food Program is feeding eight million people. By the end of the month, we will scale up to 10 million people. And by the end of January to 12 million people."
MARIAM ZAIDI RIMBO, SWEDEN "Just to give you an idea of the scale of food scarcity- Yemen has a population of 29 million people. So the situation is getting very desperate indeed. So the talks here - expected to go into the next week- are very important. But the question remains: Will they give the results needed to bring an end the suffering. Mariam Zaidi, CGTN Rimbo."