United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed speaks during a press conference on May 15, 2016 at the information ministry in Kuwait City. The UN special envoy to Yemen held talks with the country's warring parties in a bid to break an impasse. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: UN Special Envoy to Yemen Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad said on Thursday said the rival parties taking part in ongoing peace negotiations in Kuwait have reached common ground in finding a solution to end the conflict.

He said a tentative roadmap has been presented which includes a national unity government and a commitment to hold a comprehensive political dialogue.

The rival parties, he said, have also agreed to a renewed commitment to abide by the terms of a previously agreed ceasefire.

He voiced optimism that a resolution to the conflict in Yemen is near, pointing to what he called “positive signs”. On Wednesday, he announced that ongoing Yemen peace talks taking place in Kuwait will enter a “new phase” in two-weeks’ time. Thursday, he said that all parties have confirmed their commitment to returning to the talks.

Ould Shaikh Ahmad said that a flurry of meetings with the Yemeni leadership, regional players and Yemeni tribes have taken place to intensify mediation efforts to repair Yemen’s social, political and economic fabric.

He warned that the Yemeni people face two emerging and serious threats. First, he warned that the total collapse of Yemen’s economy is looming and would affect all parties to the conflict.

Second, he said that the political vacuum due to the war has paved the way for terrorist groups to expand their influence in the country.

Despite the grim warnings, Ould Shaikh Ahmad said that humanitarian aid delivery has improved overall in the country.

He also said he has received assurances that Yemen would receive “huge cash injections” to rescue its morbid economy, without mentioning where the funds would come from.

His comments come two days after UN chief Ban Ki-Moon visited Kuwait — where the two sides have been meeting since April — to encourage them to reach a peace deal. He also called for the release of prisoners including journalists and other political detainees as a goodwill gesture ahead of the holiday.

Ban also urged “the delegations to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and to show the responsibility and flexibility required

to arrive at a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict.”

The government has demanded the implementation of a UN Security Council resolution calling on the rebels to withdraw from all cities, including the capital, Sana’a, and hand over their heavy weapons. Al Houthis want to form a unity government before any changes are made on the ground.

Ban said the international community wants the conflict to end and Yemen returned to the transitional process before the war.

Ban also warned the humanitarian situation in Yemen is alarming, with scarcity of basic food, and the economic conditions have deteriorated.

The conflict pits Iran-backed Al Houthis and security forces loyal to ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah against the internationally-recognised government lead by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.