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Yemen peace talks suspended for one month

7th Aug 2016
Yemen peace talks suspended for one month

By Zakaria al-Kamali

 

KUWAIT (AA) – UN envoy to Yemen Islami Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Saturday announced a one-month suspension in peace talks between the Yemeni government and the Ansar Allah group for resolving the conflict in the Arab country.

Speaking at a press conference in Kuwait, Ould Cheikh said the talks will be resumed within one month at a venue to be determined later.

Earlier today, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said that the UN-brokered talks with the Ansar Allah group [Houthis] ended without reaching a peace deal.

The move came shortly after the Houthi group and allied former president Ali Abdullah Saleh named ten officials who would comprise a council to run the war-torn country.

Mediators in the latest round of talks had hoped to forge a deal under which the Houthis would withdraw militias from San’a and lay down weapons, followed by political concessions from Mr. Hadi’s government, according to a senior Western diplomat.

But the Houthis wanted a comprehensive security and political deal before taking any such steps, the diplomat said. That was something Mr. Hadi’s government wasn’t willing to accept because of a lack of trust in the rebels.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-Hadi forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south — including provisional capital Aden — but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In April, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict, which has so far killed more than 6,400 people and forced 2.5 million others to flee their homes.

In June, the United Nations blacklisted the Saudi-Arabia led coalition for killing and maiming thousands of children in Yemen.In his annual report on children in armed conflict, Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General, said the UN had recorded a six-fold increase in the number of children killed and maimed in 2015 compared to the previous year.

Out of almost 2,000 child casualties and fatalities in 2014, 60 per cent – 510 deaths and 667 injuries – were attributed to the Saudi-led coalition, a fifth to Houthis and others to ground fighting and extremist attacks.

“Grave violations against children increased dramatically as a result of the escalating conflict,” Mr Ban said.

The UK has been accused of supporting and arming Saudi Arabia on Yemen.
Additional Reporting The Muslim News

 

[Photo: United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed speaks to media on Yemen negotiations at the Kuwait Ministry of Information in Kuwait City, Kuwait on August 6, 2016. Photographer: Jaber Abdulkhaleg/AA]

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