After failure of Yemen peace talks in Geneva last week over deep differences among parties, UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is set to arrive in Riyadh to try and strike a preliminary agreement.
The UN envoy will be in Riyadh this week and Sanaa next week to discuss a draft peace proposal, Ashok Nigam, UN resident coordinator, told reporters.
Ahmad Fawzi, UN spokesman, told reporters: “The envoy wishes to spend some time in the two capitals to discuss the draft peace proposals that evolved during the Geneva talks and intends to reach a preliminary agreement.”
The warring parties failed to reach any agreement in Geneva despite the legitimate government having gone there with high hopes of reaching one. According to them, the Houthi delegation did not allow the government representatives to reach real progress.
Meanwhile, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin maintained that there was no need for a second round of talks with the Houthis in Geneva, and asserted that his government will start looking for options to implement the UN Security Council resolution, which stipulates that the rebels’ should withdraw from the areas they occupied in Yemen.
“I do not think there will be a second Geneva peace talk on Yemen,” Yassin told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News. He pointed out that the UN envoy could hold separate talks with the Yemeni government delegation in Riyadh and the Houthis in Sanaa.
The minister also said that their government will work with the UN envoy and the international community to try and find a mechanism to execute UN Security Council Resolution 2216 that calls on the rebel group to put down weapons and pull out of areas under their control.
Requesting anonymity, a diplomat who has been in the region for many years and who also served in Yemen told Arab News: “The UN special envoy’s visit to Riyadh assumes greater significance now as it is going to resume the talk that was begun in Geneva. Reaching a preliminary agreement will be significant, in any case. We must remember that while progress in solving the Yemen issue might be slow at the moment, hope is not dead in rebuilding this war-ravaged nation.”
Earlier, the UN envoy urged all parties to observe a humanitarian truce aimed at delivering critical aid to civilians during the fasting month of Ramadan.