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Intra-Yemen dialogue opens in Riyadh amid Houthi absence

Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 17, 2022. - Gulf Arab countries are seeking to host rare talks between Yemen's warring parties, including the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, in Riyadh at the end of the month, officials said. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on 17 March 2022 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images]

Intra-Yemeni talks started on Wednesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Anadolu News Agency reports.

"Today's talks are closely followed up by all Yemenis, amid hopes to reach a solution between rivals," GCC Secretary-General, Nayef Al-Hajraf told the opening session of the talks.

"A peaceful solution is the only way to Yemen's crisis," he stressed.

The GCC-sponsored talks seek to probe ways of restoring peace to Yemen, which fell into civil war since 2014.

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hussein Ibrahim Taha, said dialogue is the only way to resolve the 8-year conflict in Yemen.

READ: Houthis call on Saudi Arabia not to miss truce opportunity

"The Yemeni people have the right to aspire to a decent life and a better future," he added.

Houthi rebels have boycotted the talks, demanding the dialogue be held in a "neutral country".

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthis captured much of the country, including the capital, Sana'a.

The conflict has created one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80 per cent of the country's population in need of humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.

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GCCInternational OrganisationsIranMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaYemen
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