Yemen’s Houthis Agree to Talks

SANAA/DUBAI (Reuters) -

Yemen’s Houthis agreed on Thursday to join UN-backed peace talks in Geneva planned for June 14, a day after their opponents in the exiled government confirmed their attendance.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has been bombing Houthi forces, the strongest faction in Yemen’s civil war, for over two months in an attempt to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Saudi Arabia. Around 2,000 people have been killed and half a million displaced by the fighting.

Coalition Arab bombings killed around 58 people across Yemen on Wednesday and Thursday, the state news agency Saba, controlled by the Houthis, said. The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, has for weeks been shuttling between the Houthi-controlled capital, the exiled government in Riyadh and other regional capitals to garner support for peace talks in Geneva.

Daifallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthis’ politburo, told Reuters his movement would take part, and “supports without preconditions the efforts of the United Nations to organize Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue”.

Both sides appeared to have relaxed their conditions for opening the talks.