Yemen government returns to peace talks despite Houthi snub

Written by NY Staff

A source close to the government at the Yemen peace talks has revealed the delegation is due to return to Kuwait to hold meetings on Thursday.

Yemen’s government delegation has returned to the UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait, sources revealed to The New Arab on Thursday.

Scheduled meetings suggested the government delegation is expected to attend negotiations with UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as well as the Houthi rebels, just days after the Yemeni leadership announced it would leave Kuwait.

On Monday, the government representative at Yemen’s peace talks, Abdulmalik al-Mikhlafi said the government had fulfilled its duties at the Kuwait-based talks and it is now up to the rebels to make a move.

“We are leaving today after having completed our part in the talks,” al-Mikhlafi told a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“The ball is now in the rebels’ court,” he added, noting that the government had made sacrifices in signing the deal despite not backing it fully.

However, the head of the delegation emphasised that although the delegation was departing, they remain willing to engage in dialogue until the extended August 7 deadline.

“The other party now has the key to make the talks fail or succeed… If they agree to the plan, our delegation will return,” al-Mikhlafi said, mentioning that Kuwaiti officials warned there will be no further extension to the stagnant peace talks.

On Sunday, the Houthi delegation rejected the UN-proposed peace deal maintaing that any agreement must first tackle a unity administration.

“What was presented by the (UN) envoy was no more than just ideas for a solution to the security aspect, subject to debate like other proposals,” a statement from the rebel delegation in Kuwait said.

The draft settlement was “no more than [a] media stunt” aimed at foiling talks, the statement said, according to the rebel rebel-run news agency.

More than 6,400 people have been killed in the Arabian Peninsula state since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March last year in support of Hadi’s government.

Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.