A Yemeni man carries his bags through the ruins of buildings destroyed in an air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition in the capital Sanaa on October 28, 2015
Dubai (AFP) - The UN special envoy for Yemen said Thursday he was confident that peace talks between the government and Shiite rebels will "probably" be held in mid-November in Geneva.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, contacted in the Gulf by telephone, told AFP his team was in contact with the Yemeni parties to discuss the modalities of the UN-brokered peace talks.
"I am very optimistic" that the talks will take place "between 10 and 15" November or "around November 15", he said.
"We are 90 percent agreed that they will be in Geneva, but there is also a possibility of Muscat. It will probably be Geneva," said Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
He stressed that the two sides were being positive, "both the Huthis who have shown a lot of flexibility, as well as the government side. Today there is an optimism on which I would like to capitalise."
On statements from Riyadh that Saudi-led military operations in support of the Yemeni government are nearing an end, the UN envoy said: "I am convinced that they are sincere."
Yemen has since March, when the coalition launched air strikes, been wracked by a conflict that has claimed nearly 5,000 lives, according to the UN.
A first attempt to hold peace talks in Geneva collapsed in June without the warring parties even sitting down in the same room.
Last month, President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government backed away from talks that were to be held in Oman, insisting the rebels first withdraw from captured territory.
The Huthis overran Sanaa unopposed in September 2014 and went on to battle for control of several regions, aided by renegade troops loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In July, loyalist forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, evicted the rebels from five southern provinces, and have since set their sights on the capital.