DUBAI (Reuters) – The Saudi-led coalition said it approved evacuating wounded Houthi fighters for treatment on Monday, meeting a key condition for the group to attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Sweden this week aimed at ending Yemen’s nearly four-year-old war.
Prospects for convening talks have increased as Western allies press Saudi Arabia, leader of the Sunni Muslim alliance battling the Iranian-aligned Houthis, over a war that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
Talks - Wednesday - Sources - Matter - UN
The talks could start on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the matter said, after U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths shuttled between the parties to salvage a previous round that collapsed in September after the Houthis failed to show up.
Western powers, which provide arms and intelligence to the coalition, may have greater leverage to demand action on Yemen after outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul increased scrutiny of the kingdom’s activities in the region.
US - Senate - Week - Resolution - Support
The U.S. Senate is due to consider this week a resolution to end support for the conflict, which is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its arch foe, Shi’ite Iran.
The coalition agreed to a U.N. request to facilitate the evacuation of 50 wounded Houthis “for humanitarian considerations and as part of confidence-building measures” ahead of the talks, spokesman Turki al-Malki said.
UN - Plane - Houthi-held - Capital - Sanaa
A U.N. commercial plane would land in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Monday to transport them to Oman, along with three doctors, he said in a statement.
The Houthis have said they would head to Sweden once the wounded were evacuated and if their delegation’s plane was not inspected by the coalition. The group has agreed to travel on a plane provided by Kuwait, a source familiar with the talks said.
Government - Houthis
The Saudi-backed government has said it would follow the Houthis...
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