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Yemeni govt gives Houthis deadline to sign UN deal

Yemen’s government gave the Houthi militias and their allies a deadline till Aug. 7 to sign a draft UN peace proposal to end conflict

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The foreign minister of Yemen’s internationally recognized government on Monday gave Iran-backed Houthi militias and their allies a deadline till Aug. 7 to sign a UN peace proposal aimed at ending the country’s civil war.

The Yemeni government has already accepted the UN peace proposal on Sunday after more than a year of armed conflict.

“If they want peace, they have to sign the peace deal and we were patient,” Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi, who is also Yemen’s deputy prime minister, told reporters.

Mekhlafi's deadline also comes after the delegation of Yemen’s government decided to leave Kuwait on Monday after the Houthis side rejected the UN peace proposal.

The foreign minister, meanwhile, said: “We’ll return at any moment, even an hour after our departure, if the other side agrees to sign this document which the [UN] envoy presented.”

Mekhlafi also warned that the Yemeni people will challenge the Houthis who “are working against legitimacy” especially if they continued to be “hurdles” to peace in the country, which he warned to be on the verge of an economic collapse.

He said the Yemeni government is “keen to achieve peace,” and accused the Houthis and their allies of “torture,” “arrests” of political dissidents and the “destruction of cities” and creating “unprecedented situations” harmful to the country.

He also reiterated the Yemeni government’s demand for the UN Security Council Resolution 2216. The resolution states that the Houthi militias must withdraw from seized territories including the capital Sanaa.

Fahad al-Sharafi, a Yemeni analyst, told Al Arabiya News channel that the UN proposal holds key and important points for peace to be reached in Yemen and to end the current crisis.

Sharafi also said that the Houthis have “enough time” to sign the agreement, but it is unclear if they will also follow suit “because within hours” after the UN proposed the peace draft, they rejected it.

Peace talks in Kuwait, which started in April, have done little to end fighting that has killed more than 6,200 people and displaced more than 2.5 million in the Arabian Peninsula state.