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As Fighting Continues In Yemen, Negotiators Pause Peace Talks

As fighting continued in Yemen, negotiators said they were temporarily suspending peace talks. The parties are scheduled to come back to the negotiating table on January 14.

In a statement, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that parties made progress during the past few days including developing a framework for talks and developing a package of "confidence-building measures."

Unfortunately, Ahmed said, the violations of a cease-fire hindered progress. Ahmed said he's suspending the talks to build a stronger cease-fire agreement.

The AP reports:

"The Yemen conflict pits the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition against the rebels, known as Houthis, who are allied with a former president and backed by Iran. Local affiliates of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have exploited the chaos to grab land and exercise influence.

"On Saturday, fierce fighting and airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition pounded the country's north. More than 40 rebels and 35 government troops were killed in the three days to Saturday, Yemeni security officials and witnesses said, speaking anonymously since they were not authorized to brief reporters.

"According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels."

As we reported, the peace talks along with the cease-fire kicked off on Tuesday with the goal of bring an end to a conflict that has lasted nine months.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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