UN prepares ground for Yemen peace talks as battles flare

UN envoy Martin Griffiths prepared Tuesday to head to war-torn Yemen to lay the groundwork for peace talks in Sweden, after fresh fighting shook the flashpoint city of Hodeida.

Griffiths — whose efforts at kickstarting peace talks collapsed in September — is again trying to get the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government to the negotiating table by the end of the year.

He is expected to meet with Huthi officials in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday.

Both sides have in the past week expressed support for the envoy and his mission to hold talks in Stockholm, but fierce clashes flared up in the Red Sea city of Hodeida late Tuesday.

This followed battles Monday that military officials said were the worst since loyalists halted an offensive last week, concentrated in the eastern part of the city where rebels fired artillery.

Source: Seychelles News Agency