U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives at the body's headquarters in Geneva for the start of long-anticipated Yemen talks aimed at resolving the ongoing civil war in the impoverished country. Roselle Chen reports.
Ahead of the formal launch of the Yemen talks set for Monday, Ban Ki-moon and the UN special envoy to Yemen met with ambassadors from the Gulf Cooperation Council. There has been much debate about who will be attending the talks and for how long they're expected to last. So far, the talks will include representatives of exiled President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government, the Houthis, representatives of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and several other Yemeni political parties involved in the ongoing civil war. The U.N. is hopeful that all parties will be present on Monday. Ahmad Fawzi is the director of the U.N. information office: SOUNDBITE: Ahmad Fawzi, director of United Nations Information Centres, saying (English): "The idea is to bring them together but if that doesn't happen, the special envoy will hold proximity talks, which means he will shuttle between both groups. There are two rooms, two rooms and he will shuttle between the two rooms throughout the day in the hope that they can be brought together." Since March, Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched an all-out air offensive on Yemen aimed at ousting the Shiite Houthis and restoring President Hadi back to power. But the Houthis remain firmly in control of much of the war-torn nation and have formed an alliance with Yemen's still powerful former President Saleh. The U.N. hopes that the peace talks will bring an end to the conflict that has plunged the country into a state of humanitarian catastrophe and killed some 2,600 people.