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UN envoy heads to Sanaa amid push to reopen airport

AFP  |  Sanaa 

The UN for was scheduled to arrive in the rebel-held capital Monday, a UN source said, as pressure mounted to reopen International Airport after a three-year shutdown.

was expected to hold talks with Yemen's Huthi rebels in Sanaa, the UN source told AFP on condition of anonymity, ahead of potential negotiations in this month aimed at ending nearly four years of war in the Arab world's poorest country.

A Saudi-led military coalition allied with the against the Iran-backed Huthis announced it would allow for the evacuation of wounded rebels on a UN chartered plane Monday.

The decision is a key step in kick starting stalled negotiations, as world powers press for an end to the conflict that has pushed to the brink of famine.

The source told AFP the reopening of International Airport, controlled by the rebels and largely destroyed by Saudi-led air raids, was a priority at the planned peace talks.

and its allies control Yemen's maritime borders and airspace and have severely restricted imports to the country, where the UN warns 14 million people risk

The alliance accuses the Huthis of smuggling arms from through airport and Yemen's many ports.

Yemen's Huthi rebels announced at the weekend that could now meet the requirements of the (ICAO) to "receive civilian flights".

The ICAO has not released a statement on A UN panel of experts this year said the "effective closure" of since 2015, when the Saudi-led alliance intervened in the war, constituted a violation of international

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition joined the Yemen war in an attempt to bolster Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's standing against the rebels, who had seized the capital and a string of ports in a takeover the year before.

Multiple UN-sponsored attempts to find a solution to the Yemen conflict have failed. UN Griffiths had initially announced would reopen in September, when the rebels and government were due in for talks.

The talks fell through before they began, as the rebels refused to leave Sanaa unless the UN could guarantee the evacuation of wounded fighters and the safe return of their delegation from

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 16:00 IST