Ex-Yemeni President, UN envoy meet before peace talks

UN envoy to Yemen meets with the former president backing Houthi rebel fighters ahead of talks in Kuwait

Ex-Yemeni President, UN envoy meet before peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The former Yemeni president backing Houthi rebels and the UN envoy to Yemen met in the capital Sanaa on Thursday ahead of the second round of peace talks between the rebels and Yemeni government scheduled in Kuwait for Friday. 

Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) tweeted that Saleh and the head of their Kuwait delegation Arif al-Zouka met the UN's Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. It was the first time since March that Saleh met with a UN representative.

According to the statement, Saleh said his party was ready for talks but said a comprehensive solution needed discussions between Yemen and its neighbor Saudi Arabia, which has carried out a more than year-long operation or air strikes in Yemen. 

In a joint statement on Tuesday, nine political parties called on the government not to participate in the talks until the Houthis and their allies respect UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and demanded the Houthis hand over cities under their control and surrender arms.

The Kuwaiti Permanent Delegate to the Arab League Ahmad Abdulrahman al-Bakr said on Thursday that the second round of Yemen talks could not be held on the scheduled date, despite the UN Envoy Ahmed being expected to meet with Houthis on Friday.

Yemen has been rocked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing 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 of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

The negotiations, which were suspended last month, have largely failed to produce any serious breakthrough.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2016, 13:45