Jun 27, 10:24 AM EDT

Officials: Yemeni talks to be suspended after deadlock

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Officials: Yemeni talks to be suspended after deadlock

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SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemen's warring parties plan to suspend talks on ending more than a year of conflict after failing to reach a breakthrough, negotiators said Monday.

Two negotiators representing Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies, and one from the internationally-recognized government, told The Associated Press that the two sides were drafting a joint statement to announce that they will return to talks mid-July, following the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Iftar.

One of the negotiators, a minister in the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, says "the return to the talks is meant to save face after reaching a deadlock."

The announcement came a day after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon visited Kuwait, where the two sides have been meeting since April, to encourage them to reach a peace deal. He also called for the release of prisoners, including journalists and other political detainees, as a goodwill gesture ahead of the holiday.

The government has demanded the implementation of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the rebels to withdraw from all cities, including the capital, Sanaa, and hand over their heavy weapons. The Houthis want to form a unity government prior to any changes on the ground, according to the negotiators.

The negotiators spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The conflict pits the Houthis and security forces loyal to a former president against the internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition of mainly Arab states. The conflict has killed an estimated 9,000 people and pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.

A truce went into effect a week before the talks began, but the two sides have repeatedly accused each other of breaking it.

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