Yemen consultations proving “constructive”

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UN spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi said Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was continuing to shuttle between opposing delegations in Geneva

What are being described as "constructive talks" to decide on Yemen's future are continuing with the priority being to secure a ceasefire, the UN said Friday.

In Geneva where the consultations are taking place, Yemeni government and opposition delegations have been meeting separately this week with UN Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

UN spokesperson Ahmad Fawzi said the Special Envoy was working late into the night to reach an agreement while Yemen's humanitarian "catastrophe" unfolds.

Here's Daniel Johnson's report from Geneva.

As a week of shuttling between the opposing Yemeni parties comes to an end for UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, efforts continue to find common ground.

UN spokesperson in Geneva Ahmad Fawzi said that the Special Envoy had held "constructive talks" and was working "very hard" to secure a ceasefire and commit to a political transition in Yemen.

The aim was to achieve something by the end of the first week, but consultations could run into Saturday, Fawzi said.

"This is the beginning of a process, a political process of consultations, to achieve a political transition, therefore one of the agreements he's trying to get out of them is that we will continue this process; whether it ends this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon, this will not be an end, this will be a commitment to continue the political process until we reach an agreement on a political transition and a cessation of hostilities."

At a press conference the UN spokesperson faced questions about whether the Yemeni opposition delegation's arrival in Geneva with more participants than expected had hampered progress.

But Ahmad Fawzi said the issue of numbers hadn't stopped the delegations discussing the need for a cessation of hostilities and future consultations.

UN humanitarian agencies meanwhile described terrible suffering in Yemen, with 21 million people in need of help, six million facing acute food shortages and more than 15 million in dire need of medical care.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'10"

 

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