Yemen peace talks begin in Switzerland

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Yemenis in Sana'a search for survivors after a bombing by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition. Photo: Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN

UN-sponsored peace talks on Yemen aimed at ending 9 months of fighting that has killed nearly 6,000 people have begun in Switzerland.

Government forces have been battling Houthi rebels for control of the Gulf state, but now both parties have agreed a ceasefire.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

Deep mistrust between the warring parties in Yemen has kept them away from the negotiating table but now both have accepted that peace talks must go ahead.

The main task will be agreeing on how to implement a UN Security Council resolution that called on the Houthis to leave the capital, Sanaa, and other cities they seized in late 2014 and early 2015.

The UN confirmed the cessation of hostilities on Tuesday and announced that negotiations to finally bring a lasting peace to the country had begun.

Here's Ahmad Fawzi, UN Spokesperson in Geneva.

 "I would like to confirm that the talks on Yemen have started. The UN sponsored consultations aimed at finding a durable settlement to the Yemen crisis started today in Switzerland. These consultations seek to establish a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, securing improvements to the humanitarian situation and a return to a peaceful and orderly political transition".

Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) and health partners are appealing for US$ 31 million to ensure health services for nearly 15 million people in Yemen affected by the ongoing conflict.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’10″

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