Yemen peace negotiations stalled
Yemen’s Shia rebels backed out of UN-brokered peace talks just hours before the negotiations were to start yesterday in Kuwait, demanding an immediate halt to airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition that has waged a year-long war against them, officials said.
It was not immediately clear if the negotiations were completely scuttled. According to two media officials linked to the Houthis, rebel representatives have delayed their trip to Kuwait.
The rebel delegation would not go unless there is a “full halt to the airstrikes” by the Saudiled coalition, the two officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to reporters.
A statement issued yesterday afternoon on behalf of the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, described the Kuwait talks as “delayed” and gave no details on when they might resume.
“We are working to overcome the latest chal- lenges and ask the delegations to show good faith, participate in the talks in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Yemen,” he said. “The next few hours are crucial. We call on the parties to take their responsibilities seriously and agree on comprehensive solutions.”
The Kuwait talks are aimed at finding ways to resolve the year-long conflict between Yemen’s internationally- recognised government, backed by the coalition, and the Houthis and their allies.
According to AbdelRahman Al Ahnoumi, a Houthi media official, the Houthis are not going to Kuwait unless there is a “full suspension” of airstrikes in accordance to the cease-fire deal signed earlier this month.
The Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 and expelled the government led by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who flew to Saudi Arabia. The government has since enlisted the help of the coalition and retaken most of the southern region.