UN Peace Envoy in Yemen

UN Peace Envoy in YemenUN Peace Envoy in Yemen

The UN mediator travelled Saturday to Aden in south Yemen to press for the government and Houthi forces to open long-delayed peace talks in Geneva on December 12, a Yemeni official said.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was to meet with Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who has declared the port city of Aden Yemen's provisional capital following the Houthis' capture of Sana'a and other regions of the country over the past year.

"Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed is seeking the agreement of Hadi to convening the talks in Geneva on December 12," a senior official close to the president told AFP.

"But this mission will be difficult," said the source, referring to the UN Security Council Resolution 2216 which calls for Houthi forces to withdraw from their territory. More than 5,700 people have been killed in Yemen, almost half of them civilians, since a Saudi-led air campaign was launched in March in support of the government, according to the United Nations.

In Aden, meanwhile, gunmen shot dead the presiding judge of a terrorism court, Mohsen Mohamed Alwan, and four of his bodyguards, a security source said, while Police Colonel Al-Khadher Ali Ahmed was gunned down in a separate attack.