UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmad lauded as positive and encouraging the first round of the direct intra-Yemeni peace talks that ended a second day in Kuwait on Friday.
"The tone and atmosphere of the talks send an upbeat message that the road to peace in Yemen is very near now," the UN mediator said at a press conference.
The UN-sponsored talks gathered representatives of the Yemeni government, the General People's Congress and Ansarullah movement.
The negotiators discussed the implementation of UN Security Council resolution No 2216, the efforts to augment the truce agreement a peaceful process in Yemen based on the GCC Initiative and the outcome of the Yemeni National Dialogue.
Cheikh Ahmad called on all parties to offer reciprocal concessions, put aside their differences and put the country's interests above anything else. He said that Yemen is going through a "critical phase," appealing to all Yemenis to take into consideration the deterioration of humanitarian situation from which the country is suffering. He added that "we are closer than ever to peace," affirming that achieving security and stability in Yemen is a UN priority.
He stressed that the UN will intensify its efforts in order to achieve peace in that Arab country. "The parties will continue their talks in Kuwait until reaching a tangible solution to the country's crisis," he affirmed.
In a reply to a question on the approval of the delegations of Ansarullah and the General People's Congress on the five items of agenda of negotiations, he said: "we are committed, from the beginning, that the talks are held in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2216." "There is a program of action, a roadmap and the agenda which are similar to these items to reach a comprehensive and enduring peaceful solution to the crisis," he noted.
Regarding the ceasefire, he noted that it went into effect on April 10 and "we work on consolidating it," despite difficulties during wars. In spite of challenges on ground, the parties commitment level to the ceasefire up to 80 percent.
He said there was a decline in violence in Yemen and this reassures everyone, especially Yemenis, adding that "there are significant gaps in the ceasefire that would be addressed."
The envoy pointed out that the most prominent challenge facing them is how to "activate the truce committees" so as to halt hostilities completely. He said he proposed deployment of local observers in Yemen to follow up consolidating the ceasefire on ground, urging all parties to promote tolerance for achieving peace.
Cheikh Ahmad thanked the State of Kuwait, His Highness the Amir, the government and people for their efforts exerted to host the negotiations. He also expressed his gratitude to the international community for the limitless support and effective follow-up of the Yemen's dossier, referring to the role of media in covering what is happening in Yemen during this "sensitive phase."
This first round of talks opened yesterday in the presence of Kuwaiti Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.