Yemen: Ansar Allah [Houthis] ready to hold talks with govt

21st Mar 2016
Yemen: Ansar Allah [Houthis] ready to hold talks with govt

By Mohamed al-Samei

 

SANA’A (AA): Yemen’s Shia Zaydi Muslim Ansar Allah [Houthi] group is prepared to engage in a fresh round of talks with the Yemeni government with a view to ending the country’s two-year-old conflict, Yemeni sources have said.

“The Houthis have told [UN envoy Esmail] Ould Shaikh that they have agreed to take part in negotiations,” one Yemeni source told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

According to the same source, talks are expected to be held in Kuwait later this month or in early April.

Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarrallah said Friday that his country was “ready and willing” to host the talks with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“Kuwait has previously expressed its readiness to host Yemeni peace consultations and it is still prepared to do so,” al-Jarrallah said.

The move comes as forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi claim to have seized control of the Harib district in Yemen’s eastern Maarib province.

On Sunday, Nasser al-Qahtani, a Yemeni official, told Anadolu Agency that pro-Hadi forces had “liberated” the district following clashes with Ansar Allah group.

Yemen has remained in turmoil since September 2014, when the Ansar Allah group and their allies overran capital Sana’a and other parts of the country, forcing Hadi and his government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Ansar Allah gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

According to the UN, more than 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen — about half of them civilians — since the Saudi-led coalition began its air campaign in the war-battered country.

[Photo: Yemenis chant slogans and hold placards during a protest against Saudi-led coalition forces air attack in front of Sana’a University in Sana’a, Yemen on March 16, 2016. Photographer: Mohammed Hamoud/AA]

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