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The Interview

UN special envoy for Yemen hails 'tangible' agreements at peace talks

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, spoke to FRANCE 24 after a week of closely watched peace talks in Sweden. For the first time in two years he managed to get rival sides in Yemen's civil war to sit down at the negotiating table, hailing the agreements reached as "tangible" and "very real".

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For four years Yemen has been plagued by a brutal civil war between the government and Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels that has left around 10,000 people dead and created what the UN says is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

After a week of talks near Stockholm, Sweden, the UN announced that Yemen's rival sides had agreed on a ceasefire for the battleground port city of Hodeida. The two sides also reached a "mutual understanding" on Yemen's third city of Taiz and agreed to hold fresh negotiations at the end of January.

"The agreements that we have made this week are very tangible; they’re very real," Martin Griffiths told FRANCE 24's Valériane Gauthier. "Both delegations had not negotiated with each other before," he added, underlining the unique nature of the talks.

However, the UN special envoy warned that the deals reached in Sweden now need to be implemented.

"The hard work begins tomorrow," he said.

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