The United Nations Special Envoy Martin Griffiths speaks at a press conference ahead of the peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels at Johannesberg Castle, about 60 kilometers north of Stockholm, Sweden, on Dec. 6, 2018. The talks coordinated by the UN kickstarted in Sweden on Thursday. (Xinhua/Rob Schoenbaum)
STOCKHOLM, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, coordinated by the UN, kickstarted in Sweden on Thursday.
"The people of Yemen, not least children, have already been waiting for peace for a long time," said Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom during a morning press conference ahead of the talks.
Wallstrom welcomed the parties to Sweden, reminding that it is now up to them to try to resolve the conflict, and adding that "I am hopeful progress will be made during the coming days here."
UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths also expressed hope at the press conference that "serious" progress towards peace can be made here. "I think in the coming days we can find solutions to specific problems that can reduce the suffering," he said.
"We must act now before we lose control of Yemen. Let's not waiver despite the challenges we may face. I am sure we will deliver the message of peace," Griffiths added.
The talks, held at Johannesberg Castle, about 60 kilometers north of Stockholm, are expected to last for about a week, depending on the consultation's progress, according to Hanan Eldawadi, chief public information officer at the UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY).
The Yemeni government delegation landed at Stockholm Arlanda Airport Wednesday afternoon, while the delegation of the Yemeni Houthi rebels, together with Special Envoy Griffiths, arrived in Sweden on Tuesday evening, according to Swedish Television (SVT).
Some experts expect Sweden's consultations to discuss confidence-building measures between the Yemeni parties, negotiations on prisoners and detainees exchange agreement as well as the reopening of Sanaa International Airport.