Ismail Ould Shaikh Ahmad, United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The UN special envoy to Yemen said on Sunday that he is optimistic about achieving a peaceful settlement in the war-torn country, but admitted “difficult matters” remain unresolved.

Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad said some progress had been achieved in the talks which began on April 21.

“Now, we have an opportunity to reach a peaceful settlement ... the progress we have made on some points makes us optimistic,” he told a news conference.

“But there remains some difficult matters ... the problem is reaching a clear political agreement.”

But the envoy declined to provide details on the progress made other than an agreement in principle to free 50 per cent of prisoners and detainees before the start of the month of Ramadan in the first week of June.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday held talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz about the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

The US State Department said Kerry and Saudi officials discussed the need to strengthen that truce that began on April 10 and their support for continued UN talks.