Politics, World, Middle East

Yemen gov’t urged to snub UN peace talks with Houthis

A second round of the talks between the Yemeni government and Houthis is planned to start in Kuwait on Friday

Sibel Uğurlu   | 13.07.2016
Yemen gov’t urged to snub UN peace talks with Houthis

Yemen

By Zakaria al-Kamali

SANAA, Yemen

Several political parties have called on the Yemeni government to suspend its participation in a new round of UN-brokered talks with the Houthis until the latter abides by a UN Security Council resolution for resolving the conflict in Yemen.

A second round of the talks between the Yemeni government and Houthis is planned to start in Kuwait on Friday.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, nine political parties called on the government not to participate in the talks until the Houthis and their allies respect UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and demanded the Houthis to hand over cities and surrender arms.

“The Houthis must fulfill their pledges regarding taking confidence-building measures, including the release of detainees, ending the siege on cities and opening safe corridors,” the statement said.

A Yemeni government source earlier told Anadolu Agency that UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has failed to persuade the government delegation to join the new round of peace talks in Kuwait.

According to the source, Ould Cheikh met in Saudi capital Riyadh on Tuesday with Hadi and a number of Yemeni negotiators in an effort to convince them to take part in the planned talks.

“The meeting, however, bore no fruits,” the source told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to restrictions to speaking to the media.

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

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-Hadi forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south -- including provisional capital Aden -- but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In April of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

The negotiations, which were suspended last month, have largely failed to produce any serious breakthrough.

*Anadolu Agency’s Sibel Ugurlu contributed to this report from Ankara

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