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Houthi Yemen radicals to join UN peace talks

SANAA: Yemen’s Houthi insurgents and their associates have decided to join overdued United Nations (UN)-brokered peace talks in Kuwait, their representatives said on Wednesday.

The insurgents decided to join the talks after the UN representative and diplomats guaranteed that a truce in effect since April 11 would be respected by loyalist forces, the rebels’ Al-Masirah television quoted Houthi representative Saleh al-Sammad as saying.

Mahdi al-Mashat, a representative of rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi, said the rebels had been assured that the agenda for the talks would be “clear and tackle issues that could help achieve peaceful solutions”.

Writing on Facebook, Mashat warned however that “we will have the right to suspend our participation” if the assurances are not met. He said Houthi representatives would leave at “noon tomorrow” but it was unclear whether he was referring to Wednesday or Thursday.

A representative of the rebel-allied General People’s Congress party, Yasser Alawadi, said on Twitter that his delegation would travel to Kuwait on Thursday.

The discussions, which were set to open in Kuwait on Monday, were delayed after the insurgents failed to show up over alleged Saudi violations of the ceasefire.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday advised the Gulf-backed government and the protestors to involve with his representative “so that talks can start without further delay”.

A Western diplomat in Kuwait has said that representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council sent a memo to the insurgents saying they “understand their fears” and urging them to “quickly join” the talks.

Earlier efforts at peace talks – counting an unsuccessful round in January – have been unable to stop Yemen’s conflict, which the United Nations says has killed more than 6,400 people and enforced almost 2.8 million from their homes.