UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said on Sunday that he expects peace talks for war torn Yemen to begin again by mid-November, eight months after the start of the Saudi-led military campaign in March of this year.
"I expect that before mid-November, God willing, a date will be specified and I expect that the dialogue must begin before mid-November, as a minimum, 15 November," Ould Cheikh Ahmed told Reuters in Bahrain.
For eight months, Iranian backed Houthis have been battling with the Saudi led coalition, as a result of Houthi aggression. Yemeni president Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi had to temporarily move to the Saudi capital Riyadh, and formally request Arab states to help “save Yemen” from Houthi expansion.
Warring parties appear to be finally coming together for long sought for talks, that could potentially help end the Yemeni suffering. As combatants finally agreed to implement UN Security Council Resolution number 2216. The resolution calls on Houthis and fighters who support deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh to withdraw from main cities and surrender arms captured from Yemeni government forces.
"I have a team in Riyadh and before that they were in Muscat, exactly to reach agreement on the date and venue and the subjects that will be discussed within the context of UN Security Council Resolution 2216," Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.
As the Yemeni president repeatedly requested the resolution to be fully implemented, Houthis and pro-Saleh fighters demand a detailed account of the mechanism by which the resolution will be implemented. Discussions between the UN and the Houthis have taken place already in Oman's capital Muscat.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said on Saturday that the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen is possibly in its "final phase" after military gains against the Houthis and given their willingness for talks.
However, Houthis and pro-Saleh militants still have control over the country's western highlands, its most populous region including the capital Sanaa. Ould Sheikh Ahmed said he did not believe the coalition intended to take Sanaa by force.
"I can say simply what I have been told, but I can't speak for the coalition. I don't think anybody has any intention to enter into Sanaa. People prefer to have a political solution."
War in the country has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.
Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.