ADEN, Yemen - Many Yemenis are deeply pessimistic about their country's future, after a three-year-old military conflict, even as a fresh round of peace talks, the fifth of its kind, is set to kick off in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept 6, under the auspices of the United Nations.

The UN officially sent out invitations, to the internationally-recognised government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, to attend next month's negotiations on resolving the country's complicated crisis. Both the Yemeni government and the Houthis, replied positively and confirmed they will dispatch their delegates to attend the upcoming peace talks in Geneva.

Four similar previous rounds of UN-sponsored peace talks between Yemeni warring rivals broke down, and failed to achieve a political solution to end the ongoing war. In 2016, Kuwait hosted the last round of UN-backed negotiations that continued for several months in the Gulf country, but no constructive results evolved, due to serious differences between the rival political parties.

Earlier this month, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, warned that, failure to resolve Yemen's civil war could lead to a serious situation and consequences for the region, worse than from the Syria conflict.

In the southern port city of Aden, where Yemen's government is temporarily based, many citizens and political activists forecast that, ongoing attempts to revive Yemen's political process, won't succeed.

Khalid Radfany, a political activist, said that, Yemen's military conflict reached a very complicated stage that cannot be resolved easily by talks in closed rooms. "The upcoming talks in Geneva will only be a waste of time, like previous ones, without making real decisions to stop the intensifying fighting," Radfany said.

"Stopping the war must be done as the first step before engaging in negotiations, because the country's people are suffering the most," he said.

"The situation is now very difficult and Geneva talks will not succeed without concessions from the two warring sides at first," he added.

Other Yemeni activists believe that the success of the upcoming UN-sponsored negotiations lies in the hands of concerned regional parties rather than the Yemeni politicians themselves.

If the upcoming peace talks see no progress in the coming weeks, some politicians think that, extremist organisations, such as the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch and the Daesh group will increase their presence and establish more training camps in the impoverished Arab country.

In recent days, the Yemeni government seeks to expel the Houthi rebels out of the strategic port city of Hodeidah, militarily, despite warnings issued by international humanitarian agencies.

On the other side, the Houthis have established many underground trenches and vowed to fight, defending the city of Hodeidah, in order to remain in control over its key port along the Red Sea.


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