Consultations on Yemen were "initial effort" to halt conflict

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Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (right) in Geneva. Photo: UNOG

A first round of consultations to decide the future of Yemen has ended in Geneva with the possibility of a ceasefire "soon", the UN negotiator in charge said Friday.

After a week of talks in the Swiss city, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that further meetings could bring about a halt to the fighting accompanied by a withdrawal.

He stressed however that the Geneva consultations were only an initial effort to halt the conflict.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

As the consultations drew to a close in the Swiss city, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, speaking through an interpreter, said that while there was no ceasefire yet, the groundwork had been laid for one "pretty soon".

"We should all realise that the Geneva consultations are not the end in itself but the launch of a long and arduous path to get Yemen back to a transitional political phase."

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen described his week of meetings with government and opposition delegations as an achievement.

But both sides had diverging views, he said, and because of the "great tragedies" and "pain" of the current conflict, it wasn't to be expected that "a single meeting" in Geneva would bring them together.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed also stressed the desperate humanitarian crisis in the country caused by the conflict which he said "cannot wait any more".

And he said he would redouble his efforts to secure a pause in fighting so aid can get through to the 21 million people who need it in Yemen.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’12″

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