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Yemen peace talks due to begin in Sweden

AFP  |  Rimbo (Sweden) 

Peace talks between the and rebels, aimed at ending four years of war that has pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine, were due to open Thursday in

The UN-brokered talks in Rimbo between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Huthi rebels, linked to Riyadh's arch-rival Iran, will be the first since 2016 when more than 100 days of negotiations failed to end a war that has now claimed at least 10,000 lives.

Analysts and diplomats said they did not expect a breakthrough at the summit.

UN sources say the organisation aims for "confidence-building" between the two parties, at war since the rebels staged a takeover of Yemeni territory in 2014.

The conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis -- with children dying of hunger, and war, recruited as soldiers or bartered as child brides every day.

Sources close to the rebels say the Huthis are expected to request the reopening of International Airport, which has been damaged by Saudi-led air raids and shut down by and its allies, who control Yemen's airspace.

A source in the government delegation said Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's camp is seeking maps detailing landmines planted by the rebels.

Sources on both sides said they would demand a ceasefire -- initiated by their rival -- and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

No end date has yet been set for the talks, slated to take place at the -- a large estate, with a golf course, 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of

A 12-member government delegation, led by Khaled al-Yamani, landed in Wednesday evening, refusing to fly until the Huthis had landed.

The rebels failed to turn up for UN Martin Griffiths' talks in September, declining to leave over what they said were fears they would not be allowed to return.

The government and Huthis on Tuesday agreed to a prisoner swap, to be overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross, after the talks.

and its allies also allowed the Huthis to evacuate 50 wounded rebels from for medical treatment in

The two sides not due to sit down at the negotiating table together.

"I would have very low expectations," a told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Any power-sharing agreement, or even tentative transitional government, would have to contend with Yemen's convoluted political and military constitution.

The Huthis hail from what was once an independent northern and today control the capital, Sanaa, along with the Red Sea city of Hodeida, home to the impoverished country's most valuable port.

The government of is now based in the province of in the south -- an area home to government loyalists, Islamists and a strong separatist movement.

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

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 10:05 IST