United Nations (United States) (AFP) – The UN envoy for Yemen on Tuesday presented a proposal to the Houthi rebels and their allies on advancing prospects for peace as protests marred the final day of his talks in Sanaa.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the rebels would give their response to the written roadmap on political and security arrangements in the coming days.
Hundreds of people demonstrated outside the envoy’s hotel in the rebel-held capital, accusing him of siding with the Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemeni government and demanding that he leave the country.
“All parties must cooperate fully and swiftly to support political alternatives to secure lasting peace guided by a conviction that violence is never a viable solution,” Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.
“The previous weeks and months confirmed that there are no winners in war and violence is never a viable solution.”
Among the poorest countries in the Arab world, Yemen slid deeper into chaos in March 2015 when the coalition launched its air campaign to push back the pro-Iran Huthi rebels who seized the capital and many other parts of the country.
Nearly 6,900 people have been killed in the conflict, more than half of them civilians, while an additional three million are displaced and millions more need food aid.
The envoy called for a return to a cessation of hostilities after a 72-hour ceasefire to allow aid deliveries officially ended at midnight Saturday as the two sides traded accusations of violations.
Peace talks held in Kuwait ended in deadlock in August.
The United Nations is pushing a plan that would provide for a unity government, the withdrawal of the rebels from Sanaa and other areas, and the handover of weapons.
“Yemeni men and women have found themselves trapped in a deadly crossfire for too long and they are paying the price for the indiscriminate violence in the country. This must stop,” he said.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed visited the site of a community hall that was bombed during a funeral ceremony on October 8, killing more than 140 people, including the mayor of Sanaa and senior Huthi military officials.
The envoy stressed the urgent need to open up Yemeni airspace to allow commercial aircraft and to allow the evacuation of some of the hundreds of injured for treatment.
The coalition has blocked national carrier Yemenia from operating in Sanaa, saying this was to ensure that the airline was not used by the rebels to transfer arms.