Yemen truce talks Stockholm 13122018
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  • Warring parties agree on ceasefire in Hodeida
  • UN says both sides will withdraw from city under deal 
  • UN chief describes peace round as "big step" for Yemenis 
  • Political framework for peace to be discussed in next round

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that Yemen's warring parties have agreed to a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

Guterres, who flew in to Sweden late Wednesday, announced that the Yemeni government and Al Houthi rebels had agreed on a ceasefire in the port of Hodeida, the main entry point for imported food and aid.

Guterres added that the agreement included the deployment of neutral forces and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.

In addition, the rivals have reached a "mutual understanding" on Yemen's third city of Taiz, the scene of some of the most intense battles in the conflict.

A political framework will be discussed in a next round of meetings scheduled for January.

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Antonio Guterres thanked the Yemeni delegations for what he called "an important step" and "real progress toward future talks to end the conflict."

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths, who brokered the talks, spoke on Thursday at the closing ceremony in the Swedish town of Rimbo, and is expected to brief the Security Council on Yemen on Friday.

The conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 14 million Yemenis now at the brink of mass starvation.

The U.N.-sponsored talks, which ends on Thursday, had low expectations for halting the conflict immediately, but have already seen some progress with the agreement of a prisoner swap to include some 15,000, and the open of Yemen airport.

Yemen's warring parties agreed on Wednesday to reopen the airport for domestic flights Image Credit: Reuters

Both sides have said they sought to build on goodwill for future talks.

The foreign ministers of Britain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced they were also in Rimbo for the last day of negotiations.

Britain's Jeremy Hunt notably met with both the government and rebels at the talks.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Federal National Council Affairs took to Twitter from Sweden thanking Griffiths for his efforts "Deep appreciation to Martin Griffiths for his efforts & perseverance & to the UN commitment to peace and to the people of Yemen."

Extending his gratitude to the UAE army "Our sincere appreciation to the 5000 Emirati soldiers along with Yemeni forces who were ready to liberate the port. Their bravery and commitment made the diplomatic progress possible."

Adding that "The diplomatic progress was made possible by sustained military pressure against the Houthis along the Red Sea and around Hodeida. The Coalition has held its commitment to maintain the flow of humanitarian assistance and to avoid damaging the port."