World, Middle East

UN Yemen envoy heads to Aden bearing new peace plan

Yemen's Saudi-backed government rejected earlier peace plan proposed by envoy

Ekip   | 16.01.2017
UN Yemen envoy heads to Aden bearing new peace plan

Yemen

By Zakaria al-Kamaali

SANAA, Yemen

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen, will head to the southern city of Aden on Monday where he will meet Yemeni government officials with a view to restarting the country’s stalled peace process, a government source told Anadolu Agency.

The source, speaking anonymously as he was not allowed to talk to media, said that during his visit Ahmed planned to meet with President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr and Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mikhlafi.

It is uncertain whether Ahmed plans to present his interlocutors with a new peace plan after government officials rejected an earlier roadmap proposed by the envoy last October.

Ahmed has repeatedly stressed that any peace proposal must recognize the "legitimacy" of Hadi’s presidency.

The envoy’s visit comes within the context of a regional tour that has already brought him to Saudi capital Riyadh, Qatari capital Doha and Omani capital Muscat, where he has briefed local officials on his ongoing peace efforts.

As it currently stands, Ahmed’s plan calls for the appointment of a new Yemeni vice-president (to whom presidential powers would eventually devolve), the withdrawal of Shia Houthi militants from capital Sanaa, and the formation of a national unity government that would include Houthi elements.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing Hadi and members of his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In mid-2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Last year, government and Houthi negotiators took part in UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which thousands of Yemenis are believed to have been killed and some 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

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