U.S.: Peace talks with Yemen warring parties to likely take place in December

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that peace talks between Yemen's warring parties were likely to take place in early December in Sweden.
Western countries are pressing for a ceasefire and renewed peace efforts to end the more than three-year conflict, which is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-allied Houthi group. The Houthis now rule most of Yemen's population, while the exiled government controls a section of the south.
UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Friday that Yemen's parties had given "firm assurances" they were committed to attending peace talks he hopes to convene in Sweden before the end of the year.
"It looks like very, very early in December, up in Sweden we'll see both the Houthi rebel side and the UN-recognized government," Mattis told reporters.
An attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva in September was abandoned after three days of waiting for the Houthi delegation.
Mattis said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had ceased offensive operations around Yemen's key port city of Hodeidah and despite some fighting, the front lines had not changed in at least 72 hours.
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