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Yemen talks resume in ‘last chance’ for peace

More than two months of negotiations between President Hadi’s government and Houthis have failed to make any headway

Published: Updated:

UN-sponsored Yemen peace talks resumed Saturday in Kuwait where a joint meeting was attended by delegations of the warring sides.

The second round of talks - chaired by the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, were opened with a statement highlighting the responsibility of all parties involved to take decisive action for peace.

The UN envoy warned the delegations that this round of talks is the last chance to make peace in accordance with the international terms of reference agreed upon.

Ahmed pointed out that decisions will be based mainly on the Security Council Resolution 2216 which requires the rebels and their allies to withdraw from areas they have occupied since 2014, including the capital Sanaa, and hand over heavy weapons.

The talks were scheduled to resume after a 15-day suspension that coincided with the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan.

Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi said the government had obtained a “written response to our demands sufficient for the political leadership to decide (on) sending the delegation back to Kuwait”.

“The deal stipulates that the Kuwait talks will not exceed two weeks, during which there will be a strict commitment to references,” he wrote on Twitter.

A well-defined timetable has been agreed that is limited to “withdrawal, handover of arms, return of state institutions, release of prisoners and lifting siege on cities” by the Iran-backed Houthi militias and their allies, Mikhlafi said.

The deal was struck after two days of talks with UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in Riyadh, he said.

It was also agreed that the two-week duration will not be extended and no other issues will be debated, he added.

The delegation of Houthis and representatives of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party arrived in Kuwait on Friday.

More than two months of negotiations between President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government and the militants have failed to make any headway.

The government is calling for implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 which requires the rebels and their allies to withdraw from areas they have occupied since 2014, including the capital Sanaa, and hand over heavy weapons.

Hadi on Sunday warned that his government would boycott the talks if the UN envoy insisted on a roadmap stipulating a unity government that included the insurgents.

His government wants to re-establish its authority across the entire country, much of which is Houthi-controlled, and to restart a political transition interrupted when the Houthis seized Sanaa.

More than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since a Arab coalition intervened in support of Hadi’s government in March last year.

Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.


(With AFP)