Yemen peace talks set for early December in Sweden: US

Peace talks aimed at ending the war in Yemen have been set for early December in Sweden, between Huthi rebels and the UN-recognized government, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

Mattis said the Saudis and United Arab Emirates -- who have backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in the brutal three-year-old war -- "are fully on board, by the way."

"It looks like that very, very early in December, up in Sweden, we'll see both the Huthi rebel side and the UN-recognized government, President Hadi's government, will be up there."

Mattis' comments came as UN envoy Martin Griffiths was in Sanaa for talks with rebel leaders to push them to join the peace talks in Sweden.

The Huthis failed to show up to peace talks in Switzerland in September, leading to the collapse of that effort to end the fighting.

The Huthis have said repeatedly that they need stronger security guarantees from the international community that they will be given safe passage through the crippling air and sea blockade the coalition has enforced since March 2015.

UN agencies say up to 14 million Yemenis are at risk of starvation if fighting closes the embattled port of Hodeida, a gateway for humanitarian aid.