By Zakaria al-Kamali
A delegation representing the Yemeni government at ongoing peace talks in Kuwait demanded on Saturday that the Shia Houthi militant group and its allies refrain from "breaching" a fragile 20-day-old ceasefire, according to Yemen’s official SABA news agency.
The government delegation articulated its demand to UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed after peace talks resumed on Saturday, one day after UN mediators managed to bring representatives of the warring sides to the table.
In a statement, the delegation -- which represents the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi -- said recent Houthis actions in Yemen "are not mere [ceasefire] violations but constitute an organized attempt to alter the military equation on the ground".
The delegation went on to cite recent alleged military escalations by the Houthis and their allies in Yemen’s Maarib and Shabwah provinces.
UN-brokered Yemen peace talks kicked off on April 11 in Kuwait City following the announcement of a ceasefire.
In advance of Saturday’s negotiation session, representatives of the Houthis and their allies, the General People's Congress Party (headed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh), presented Ahmed with their "vision" for a solution to the conflict, Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdul-Salam said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the government delegation submitted its own recommendations, including appeals for the immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls for the Houthis to withdraw from cities occupied earlier and for the militant group to lay down its arms.
Yemen has suffered violence and chaos since September 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and several other parts of the country, forcing President Hadi and his 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.
According to UN figures, the ongoing conflict has so far led to the death of some 6,400 Yemenis and forced some 2.5 million to flee their homes.