The second day of Yemeni talks in Sweden ended Friday without any significant breakthroughs.
However, the legitimate government managed to impose the Taiz file during confidence-building talks held between the warring parties. It also objected to discussing a comprehensive political solution, or what UN special envoy Martin Griffiths calls the “framework agreement.”
Griffiths said talks, held in the Johannesberg Castle in Rimbo north of Stockholm, aim to set up “a framework for negotiations” on a future peace agreement.
A source from the UN said discussions between the two parties were “constructive and positive,” refusing to uncover details of issues tackled during the talks.
“The two sides indirectly discussed many files,” the source said.
The peace talks are the first since 2016. A previous round of talks in Geneva in September collapsed when the Iran-backed Houthi militias failed to show up after they made last-minute demands..
On Friday, Griffiths held two meetings with the attending delegations, and for unknown reasons, he canceled a third meeting scheduled by his team with the delegation representing the legitimate government.
The stringent militia stances over the government’s proposals have forced Griffiths to cancel the meeting and he has since returned to the Houthis for more clarifications, a source from the government delegation said.
Meanwhile, Hamza Al Kamali, a member of the delegation, said: “There are differences in opinion and a lack of understanding or commitment by the United Nations concerning the agenda of the consultations.”
He added that Houthis are seeking to make gains and acquire positions in power, while the legitimate government is working to ease the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
“Here lies the dispute between the legitimate government that cares about Yemen and its people and Houthis, who care about their personal interests,” he said.
On the issue of Yemen’s airports, Baligh al-Mekhlafi, a Yemeni journalist and a political researcher, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the government believes that reopening Sanaa International Airport or other Houthi-controlled airports is a “humanitarian issue”, on condition that the militias do not use the facilities to smuggle arms and individuals.
“The government insists that those airports be open for internal flights,” he said, adding that international flights should pass through the airport in the temporary capital Aden.