The UN envoy to Yemen and President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi met on Thursday in the southern city of Aden to discuss a new bid to end the country’s conflict, a government official said.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who flew in from Riyadh, held several hours of talks with Hadi at the hilltop Al-Maashiq palace, where several members of his government are also staying, before leaving Aden, the official said.
The government-run sabanew.net website said Hadi handed the envoy a letter reiterating the government’s rejection of a roadmap presented by Ould Cheikh Ahmed in October, which would see the president eased out of power.
The contents of the peace roadmap have not been made public.
But informed sources say it calls for agreement on naming a new vice president after the rebels withdraw from the capital Sanaa and other cities and hand over heavy weapons to a third party.
Hadi would then transfer power to the vice president who would appoint a new prime minister to form a government in which the north and south of Yemen would have equal representation.
Late last month, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he has been preparing “for a new round” of peace talks, after a previous round held in Kuwait collapsed in August.
More than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded since Yemen’s conflict escalated since a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened militarily in March last year in support of Hadi.
Aden has been serving as Yemen’s temporary capital since loyalists with coalition support recaptured it from the Iran-backed Houthi rebels last year.
Hadi, who has been spending most of his time in Riyadh since the conflict broke out, flew to Aden last Saturday for a surprise visit to the port city.
Thursday’s meeting was the first between the president and the UN envoy to take place in Aden.