UNITED NATIONS - The UN special envoy for Yemen urged parties in the upcoming peace talks to overcome their differences and negotiate a real political solution to the yearlong conflict, saying the war-torn Arab country ‘never been so close to peace.’

‘Yemen is now at a critical crossroad,’ Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the UN Security Council. ‘One path leads to peace, while the other can only worsen the security and humanitarian situation.’

He said achieving any success at the talks scheduled to begin Monday in Kuwait would require ‘difficult compromises from all sides, as well as determination to reach an agreement.’ The Saudi-backed government in Yemen will begin on Monday a new round of talks with the Shia Huthi rebels and their allies in Kuwait to end a war that has brought the country to its knees.

The envoy, who was due to fly to Kuwait after the council meeting, welcomed a decrease in violence since the ceasefire went into force on Monday.

Cheikh Ahmed said however there were worrying violations of the truce in Marib to the east, Jawf in the north, and Taez in the southwest. ‘Yemen is facing a brutal war on one hand and a significant terrorist threat on the other’ that has grown in the vacuum created by the chaos, said the envoy. He urged the Security Council members and regional and international players to support the process.