What Happened: U.N.-backed peace talks between the Yemeni coalition and Houthi rebel forces have kicked off in Sweden, with both sides agreeing to a prisoner swap deal, the BBC reported Dec. 6. The United Nations is aiming to discuss a framework for peace negotiations, implement confidence-building measures, such as prisoner swaps, and work toward a reduction in violence.
Why It Matters: The sides have made some significant progress on confidence-building measures in the lead-up to the talks, and there is a chance that the two will move toward further political negotiations. However, reducing violence in Yemen's civil war would require a concerted effort by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Yemeni coalition and Houthi rebels to stand down on the conflict's many front lines — something that remains unlikely at this point.
Background: U.N.-backed talks scheduled for September were aborted before they began. Growing political pressure on the Yemeni coalition and increased humanitarian strain in the country are among the main drivers leading to a renewed peace effort.
- U.S.: The Senate Moves to End U.S. Involvement in Yemen (Nov. 29, 2018)
- What's the Future of U.S. Support for the Saudi War in Yemen? (Nov. 3, 2018)
- The Latest Failed Attempt at Peace Talks Means More of the Same in Yemen (Sept. 17, 2018)