May 21, 2016 / 8:10 PM / 3 years ago

Yemeni government to give peace talks 'last chance:' minister

A boy attends a gathering held by tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement to show support to the movement in Sanaa, Yemen, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

CAIRO (Reuters) - Yemen’s government will give U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait a “last chance”, the country’s foreign minister said on Saturday, four days after the delegation suspended participation in the process aimed at ending the year-long war.

Representatives from the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and its Iran-allied Houthi rebel foes have been meeting for nearly a month in Kuwait for talks to ease a war that has killed more than 6,200 people.

The government withdrew from the talks on Tuesday, saying it would only return if its opponents committed to withdraw from cities they have seized since 2014 and hand over weapons.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the government delegation would give the talks “a last chance” after President Hadi held meetings with the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait, as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The talks are focused on government demands for the Houthis to hand over their weapons and quit captured cities, as well as the formation of a new government that would include the rebels. The government is currently based in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, while the Houthis retain control of the capital Sanaa.

The peace talks began last month after a tentative ceasefire which reduced clashes in the country. After the Houthis advanced last year, Saudi Arabia drew together a coalition of mostly Gulf Arab countries to push the group back, largely through air strikes.

Ahmed Tolba and Mohammed Ghobari in Cairo, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Stephen Powell

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