Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations special envoy to Yemen, left Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on Monday, after four-day official visit to discuss a new UN-sponsored peace roadmap.
“I received positive response from Houthi group and their ally of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party,” Ould Cheikh told reporters upon his departure.
“I called all Yemeni parties to engage in the peace roadmap. Political settlement is the only solution to ended the war,” he said.
Ould Cheikh gave no further details or outlined the roadmap.
But official sources in Houthi group had said that the proposal would sideline internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, dismiss Hadi’s deputy Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and transfer power to a new consensual vice president and forming a new national unity government, which broadly includes Houthis and Saleh’s loyalists.
Saleh welcomed the new UN proposal as “a good basis for negotiations,” in a post on his official twitter.
The UN move came after previous peace-mediated efforts to end the 19-month war between dominant Houthis backed by Saleh’s loyal forces and Hadi’s government army backed by Saudi-led military coalition.
Ould Cheikh said he will head to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, to meet Hadi and offer him the proposed roadmap.
However, Hadi chaired a meeting with his exiled cabinet in Riyadh a day earlier, criticizing the UN envoy proposal as “legitimizing the Houthi and Saleh coup and ignoring the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2216.”
“The proposal would pave the way for more years of civil war and rewarding Houthis and Saleh the power,” Hadi told the cabinet, cited by Riyadh-based Saba news agency.
Hadi administration also organized popular protests in government-controlled southern port city of Aden to refuse the new UN envoy roadmap and demand Hadi to stay as the legitimate president.
Yet, no official declaration about the content of the new political settlement roadmap.
The UNSC Resolution, issued in 2015, demands that the Houthis withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Yemeni government and fully implement previous council resolutions.
The war, since Saudi Arabia Launched in March 2015 air campaign in support to Hadi against Iranian-allied Houthis, has killed over 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians and displaced other three million.