As part of his new regional tour, U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is expected to arrive to Riyadh Friday before heading in two days to the Omani capital, Muscat, where he will sit with a Houthi delegation.
U.N. spokesman Charbel Raji said that during his stop in Saudi Arabia, Ould Cheikh would carry in his pocket the file of the political negotiations and the cessation of fighting.
Informed Yemeni sources said Ould Sheikh would be mainly discussing the issue related to a 72-hour ceasefire in Yemen, which has been suggested earlier by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his trip to Riyadh last August.
Yemeni diplomatic sources spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat about a dispute between the U.N. special envoy and the U.S. Department of State concerning the priorities of the peace initiative in Yemen.
Ould Sheikh believes there is a need first to secure a ceasefire to deliver aid and a necessity that rebels withdraw from Yemeni cities. However, the U.S. considers a peace initiative should start by the formation of a national unity government, the sources said.
Yemeni sources asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that any solution carried by Ould Cheikh or any other side would not be accepted if it does not clearly state, before any political solution, a request from Houthis to hand over their weapons and withdraw from the cities, particularly from Sana’a, Taiz and Hadidiyah.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Yemeni government was currently preparing a file, supported with proofs and detailed information, concerning the war crimes that were committed by the Houthi-Saleh militias. The file will be sent to the International Criminal Court.
The foreign minister said the Yemeni government would use this file to show the international community what crimes the rebels have been committing since they seized the capital, Sana’a, in 2014.
“The criminals would not go unpunished, because the crimes committed by the rebels against the Yemeni people had escalated and expanded,” Al-Mekhlafi said, adding that Yemenis want to judicially punish those criminals through the civil organizations.
The already frozen negotiations to end 18 months of fighting in Yemen collapsed last month in Kuwait and Houthi militias there resumed shelling attacks into Saudi Arabia.
Concerning Yemen’s decision to present a claim against Iran to the U.N. Security Council, the foreign minister said Yemeni legal experts were currently studying the file, which would be presented to the council soon.
“The government is currently documenting all illegal activities conducted by Tehran, particularly Iran’s current efforts to change the Yemeni demographic structure,” he said.
Last week, Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi vowed at the U.N. to “extract Yemen from the claws of Iran” as he accused Tehran of impeding peace by intervening in the country.