Yemen’s warring parties met in Geneva on Tuesday for UN-backed negotiations, as a fragile seven-day ceasefire came into effect.
The talks involve Yemen-based parties on both sides, including the current Yemeni government and the Houthi rebel movement that it is fighting.
The negotiations are aimed at finding a “durable settlement” to the months-long crisis, according to a statement from the office of UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
The statement called on both the government and the Houthis to adhere to a new ceasefire, calling it the “first step towards building lasting peace”, including a permanent ceasefire and improved humanitarian conditions.
However, the Saudi-led coalition of foreign forces that supports the Yemeni government has said it reserves the right to respond to any ceasefire violations.
A Saudi military commander and an Emirati officer were reported killed on Monday, just hours before the ceasefire, along with a number of soldiers from the Gulf, Yemen and Sudan.
Since a Saudi-led military coalition launched strikes against Houthi-held positions last March, nearly 5,700 people have been killed, many of them civilians.
The Saudi coalition is aiming to defeat the rebel army of Yemen’s Shi’a Houthi community, and restore the government of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.
Meanwhile, Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah said he is determined to end the war that killed almost 6,000 Yemenis, in addition to huge economic and infrastructure harms.
Two previous attempts by the UN failed to unite the Yemeni warring parties.
The two parties did not fully commit to past ceasefires, especially in May and July. A recent meeting between the Arabian Gulf countries confirmed they seek a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.