Yahya Doad (2nd R), a member of the General Committee of the General People's Congress Party, and Mohammed Abdul-Salam (2nd L), head of the Houthi delegation to scheduled peace talks in Kuwait, gesture after they finish a news conference at Sanaa Airport, Yemen, April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi(reuters_tickers)
By Mohammed Ghobari
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Yemen's warring factions failed to agree on an agenda for U.N-backed peace negotiations in Kuwait on Friday after their first direct meeting but the effort will continue, participants said.
The talks in Kuwait, which opened late on Thursday, bring together the Iran-allied Houthi movement and its General People's Congress (GPC) party allies with the Saudi-backed government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The talks seek a solution to a conflict which has killed more than 6,200 people, triggered a humanitarian crisis and enabled militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State to consolidate their presence in the country.
Sources present at the talks, delayed since Monday due to the late arrival of the Houthi delegation and its allies, said the two sides were divided on the priorities.
The government delegation wants Houthis and fighters loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to withdraw from cities and hand over weapons before discussing a political solution, the sources said.
The Houthis and its allies want the formation of a new government representing all parties, which will then oversee disarmament. They also want to focus the discussion on security arrangements and detainees, the sources added.
The sources declined to be named because the talks being held at the palace of Kuwait's ruling emir are closed to the media.
Yemen's crisis began in September 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa. A Saudi-led Arab alliance intervened in March last year, launching a campaign of mostly air strikes against the Houthis in support of Hadi's forces.
A temporary truce between the government and Houthis has mostly held in place since April 10, although both sides have accused each other of violations.
U.N. special envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Thursday outlined five points as the basis for the talks, officially dubbed "consultations".
These included withdrawal from cities seized by the Houthis since the crisis began in 2014, forming a more inclusive government and handing over heavy weapons to the new government in the country, which is currently divided between the Houthis and Hadi's administration, based in the southern port of Aden. Its representatives move between there and Saudi Arabia.
(Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Angus MacSwan)