Tuesday, 18 Dec 2018

The UN says civilian casualties in Yemen average 123 a week

RIMBO, Sweden – The UN refugee agency announced on Friday that there were nearly 1,500 civilian casualties in Yemen from August to October, the latest worrying toll after a four-year civil war as opposing parties hold talks in Sweden.

The announcement was made as Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the recognized international government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, gathered for a second day for US-sponsored talks aimed at ending the bloodshed.

UNHCR urged both parties to do more to protect civilians, claiming that Yemen data report an average of 123 civilians killed and wounded each week during the three-month period, in a war that killed at least 16,000 civilians.

On Friday, at the premises of a castle in the city of Rimbo, north of Stockholm, US envoy Martin Griffiths and various delegates from Yemen were seen strolling on the ground.

Othman Mujali, the Hadi government's agriculture minister, said his party was ready to make concessions to help alleviate suffering and revive the economy.

"There are confidence-building measures on which we are going to build goodwill, as they leave Hodeida and stop saving funds," he said. "We are ready to release prisoners of war and pay people's wages if they respect what we agree on."

The Houthie delegation then said that the talks had been divided into five main sections, including the opening of the Sanaa airport for assistance purposes, adding that the prisoner exchange would include all detainees on both sides.

"The first section is the political framework, the second section is the airport … then Sanaa and the economic and humanitarian measures, and the fifth – and this was discussed and completed – concerns prisoners and prisoners of war , "The chief negotiator of the Houthis, Abdul-Malik al-Ajri, said.

The talks began on Thursday on an upbeat note, with the warring parties agreeing to a wide exchange of prisoners, reinforcing the hope that the talks would not deteriorate as in the past.

In a statement released in Sana'a on Friday, the rebels said their delegation had met with Griffiths and hoped to be successful in the negotiations and make concrete progress.

"The international envoy discussed the importance of such consultations and said that progress must be made on three important issues: the general framework, the political solution and calm, and confidence-building measures," he said. they declared.

The conflict in Yemen, which pushed the country to the brink of famine, pits the internationally recognized government against the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who took the capital of Sanaa in 2014. The Saudis intervened throughout the year. next.

US officials have tried to downplay the talks' expectations, saying they did not foresee rapid progress towards a political settlement, but hoped at least for minor steps to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen and prepare a framework. for the continuation of the negotiations.

According to UNHCR, of the 1,478 civilian casualties, 33 per cent were women and children. A total of 217 women and children were killed and 268 injured.

An Associated Press investigation released Friday revealed evidence of torture in places of detention held by Houthi rebels in Yemen. There has also been an international outcry against the coalition for abuses. The PA has uncovered cases of torture in secret prisons run by the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies and has documented the death of civilians following drone strikes during the US campaign against the Al-Qaeda branch of the United Arab Emirates. Qaida in Yemen.


Rohan reported from Cairo. Associated press editors Jamey Keaton in Geneva and Hassan Abdallah in Cairo also contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.


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