In this week's Headliner, we speak to UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths about the latest round of peace talks in Sweden and whether there's an end in sight to almost four years of devastating war.

And in the Arena, the spokesmen for both incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and his top challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar debate who is best placed to lead Nigeria next.

Headliner - Yemen: 'Parties decide to resolve a conflict, not UN'

After seven days of peace talks in Rimbo, Sweden, Yemen's warring sides have agreed to withdraw forces from the port city of Hodeidah and to implement a ceasefire in the governorate.

This result is regarded as a major breakthrough that could be "a starting point for peace and for ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen," according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

On the same day, the US Senate voted 56-41 to end US military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition which has been bombarding Yemen.

But are we any closer to ending this crisis? We ask Martin Griffiths, an experienced mediator and the UN's special envoy for Yemen.

"I think it's a big step forward, but it's the first big step forward," says Griffiths, adding that he thinks a ceasefire in Hodeidah guarantees that the humanitarian pipeline won't be affected by the warring sides, "I think we've put a spike in the road on that."

Prior to this round of peace talks, The Guardian reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had lobbied UN Security Council members to stall a ceasefire resolution. Griffiths says it would be absurd for him to be shocked by such reports.

"What I need to do is to understand why people have different approaches to resolving this conflict," Griffiths adds that it's the key to "find out a way through it to resolve the conflict".

Having worked for all three UN envoys for Syria, Griffiths says "My job, is to do everything we can through diplomacy, through mediation, through urging, through patience, through listening, through respect to give them the chance to do the right thing."

Arena - Who will be Nigeria's next president?

In February 2019, Nigerians will head to the polls to vote for their next president in the sixth presidential elections since the end of military rule in 1999.

The incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress is running for a second term. His main competitor is former vice president, Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People's Democratic Party.

Which of them is best-placed to lead Africa's biggest economy?

When asked why Buhari travelled overseas for medical treatment without informing the Nigerian people what that treatment was for, his campaign spokesman, Festus Keyamo, says there is "no political templates and booklets" that require Buhari to disclose his medical records.

President Buhari has been to the United Kingdom several times for unspecified medical treatment, despite claiming during the campaign that he would end 'medical tourism' for government officials when treatment was available in Nigeria.

"In matters of health, you have to rebuild infrastructure. Because health is number one," Keyamo adds. "And you don't expect people to die, not only him [Buhari], any other person at all in a state of health that may be terminal."

Abubakar's spokesman, Segun Sowunmi was pressed about the $40m sent to the US via offshore wire transfers. Sowunmi says the money was an attempt "to fund an American University in Yola."

"It was investigated. It was clearly shown not to be of crime," he continued. "We must be careful that we do not take small queries to mean grand larceny or grand indictment."

Editor's note: A web extra with the discussion about the economy and corruption will be available on Tuesday, December 18.

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Source: Al Jazeera News