Britain's foreign secretary has welcomed the start of peace talks to end the war in Yemen, which are underway in Kuwait.

Philip Hammond said in a statement Friday that "only a political solution can bring an end to the conflict."

He said: "I urge all those around the table to come together to find a way to end the conflict, address the humanitarian situation and allow the return of Yemen's legitimate government."

The United Nations-backed talks began Thursday night at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City.

The talks are between Yemen's internationally-recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and Shiite rebels known Houthis and their allies, who hold the capital, Sanaa.

The U.N. says almost 9,000 people have been killed in the conflict since late March 2015.