Yemen gov't suspends participation in UN peace talks

Yemen gov't suspends participation in UN peace talks

Previous rounds of UN talks in June and December between Yemen's warring parties failed to end conflict

By Zakaria al-Kamali

SANAA(AA) - Delegates of the Yemeni government have suspended their participation in Kuwait-hosted talks aimed at resolving a one-year conflict in Yemen.

In a statement Tuesday, the delegation said the move aimed to give UN mediator Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed the chance to pressure the Houthis to abide by the agreed agenda.

"I've asked the UN envoy to prevent the pro-Houthi delegates from wasting more time and to ensure their commitment to [the agenda] before resuming talks,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik Mekhlafi said on Twitter.

Last month, the Yemeni government engaged in a new round of UN-brokered talks with the Houthis and their allies, the forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in an effort to resolve the conflict, which has caused a major humanitarian crisis in Yemen and displaced around 2.5 million from their homes.

The talks focus on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2216, which recognized Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and demanded that the Houthis hand over cities and surrender arms.

“After a month of negotiations, the Saleh-Houthi group comes now and demolishes the talks […],” Mekhlafi said.

The government delegation listed a number of conditions before rejoining the talks, including the recognition of Hadi’s legitimacy and abidance of the agenda.

Previous rounds of UN talks in June and December between Yemen's warring parties failed to end the conflict.

Yemen has been racked by chaos and bloodshed 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, the Hadi government forces have managed to reclaim large parts of the south of the country, including the provisional capital Aden, but have been unable to retake Sanaa and other key areas held by the Shia group.

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