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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Yemen Peace Talks: Agreement on confidence-building measures, ceasefire committee

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy 
of the Secretary-General for Yemen, at the Geneva Consultations 
on Yemen with the Sana’a delegation. 15 December 2015. (UN Photo)
Communiqué: Yemen Peace Talks
 On 15 December 2015, the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen convened a delegation of the Government of Yemen and a joint delegation of Ansarallah and the General People’s Congress in Magglingen in Switzerland, to conduct peace consultations under the auspices of the United Nations.  

The parties came together to develop a framework for detailed peace negotiations based firmly on Resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant UNSC resolutions, in order to reach an end of the war and return to a peaceful, political transition. The parties also sought to identify and implement a series of confidence building measures, which yield concrete and immediate benefits for the Yemeni people. 

The Special Envoy expressed his gratitude to all parties for their presence, and constructive participation engagement in the UN facilitated peace talks. He also expressed his appreciation to the participants for their commitment to a cessation of hostilities, which was announced with the start of the talks.

Unfortunately, there were numerous violations of the cessation of hostilities, which affected the progress of the talks. Despite this, the parties made serious progress through identifying a framework for negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement, in addition to defining a set of relevant confidence-building measures relating to prisoner release, improved social services and improving the flow of humanitarian aid to Taizz and other Yemeni governorates.

In particular, during the talks the parties agreed to:
(1)  Develop a package of confidence-building measures including a mechanism for the release of prisoners which will include a release of all detainees and prisoners once a permanent ceasefire is in place;
(2)  Establish a Co-ordination and De-escalation Committee consisting of military advisors from both sides, facilitated by the United Nations.
(3)  Lift all forms of blockade and allow safe, rapid and unhindered access for humanitarian supplies to all affected governorates, including Taizz.
The participants likewise agreed to a negotiating framework for a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict and allow the resumption of inclusive political dialogue.  This framework is firmly based on Resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant UNSC resolutions and provides a mechanism for return to a peaceful and orderly transition based on the GCC Initiative and National Dialogue outcomes.

The participating delegations in Switzerland further agreed to:
(1)       Continue the work of the Coordination and De-escalation Committee set up during these talks and identify a suitable location for it in the region. The committee will be comprised of military representatives of the parties who will meet under UN facilitation.
(2)       Meet again for a second round of talks to be convened by the Special Envoy in consultation with the parties.
(3)       Ensure a greater involvement of women in the upcoming rounds of talks.

Given the centrality of the cessation of hostilities to the success of talks, the Special Envoy has elected to adjourn the talks until the middle of January 2016. In order to ensure adherence to the cessation of hostilities and enable sustainability, the Special Envoy judges that additional bilateral consultations will be required in Yemen and in the region in the coming weeks. 

The Special Envoy shall continue to work with the parties to identify and implement confidence-building measures that will help build respect for a durable ceasefire and peace process.

The Special Envoy wishes to commend the participants for the work so far undertaken and plans to convene the next round of these talks on 14 January 2016.

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