Arab League worried over lack of political settlement between Yemeni sides

Pro-government fighters ride on the back of a patrol truck in a village taken by pro-government forces from the Iran-allied Houthi militia, in the al-Sarari area of Taiz province, Yemen July 28, 2016. (Reuters)

The Arab League on Sunday has expressed concerns over the regressing situation between the Yemeni warring sides, the official state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, after talks were extended for one week.

Arab League’s spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said the 22-state regional organization emphasizes the “necessity” for the peace talks to go through, highlighting the need to implement UN Resolution no. 2216.

Security arrangements under Resolution 2216 require the Houthi militias and their allies to withdraw from areas they occupied in 2014, including the capital Sanaa, and the handover of weapons.

The Arab League expressed its concerns after Iran-backed Houthi militia and its allies in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress signed an agreement to set up a council to run the country on Thursday. This has brought a new setback to the Yemeni talks which started in April in Kuwait.

The Arab League reaction also came after the Saudi-led coalition confirmed the death seven of its military in the ongoing fight against the Houthi militia on Saturday. The dead were all Saudi military: an officer and five other soldiers. They died while trying to stop Houthi militias from infiltrating across the border, a spokesman said.

The flare-up in fighting was one of the worst since peace talks began in Kuwait in April between Yemen’s government and the Houthis to end a 16-month conflict that has left more than 6,400 people dead, nearly half of them civilians, and displaced more than 2.5 million.

A truce that began in April has slowed the momentum of fighting, but violence continues almost daily.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Yemen envoy, said the move gravely violated Resolution 2216, which also calls on the Houthis “to refrain from further unilateral actions that could undermine the political transition in Yemen.”

In Kuwait the UN-brokered Yemen peace talks have been extended for one week following a request by the UN special envoy, the foreign ministry of host nation Kuwait said on Saturday.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49