DUBAI: Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek Al-Mekhlafi said on Tuesday his government was not interested in a cease-fire and unity government announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Speaking after talks in Oman, which is close to the Houthis, and in the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition, Kerry said he had presented Houthi delegates with a document outlining a cease-fire and peace deal.
He said the Houthis, whom he met in Oman on Monday night, had agreed to a truce from Thursday, provided the other side implemented it.
“And thus far the Emiratis and the Saudis … they have both agreed to try to move forward with this,” he said.
The cease-fire would be on the same terms as an earlier one that ran from April until the end of August, when UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait ended in disagreement.
The Yemeni government quickly rejected the move, complaining of being bypassed.
“The government of Yemen is not aware of the statements made by Mr. Kerry and does not consider itself committed to them,” said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek Al-Mekhlafi.
Remarks attributed to Kerry “are a bid to derail peace efforts and a bid to reach an agreement with the Houthis without the government,” he said. “I believe the current US administration is incapable of providing any guarantees to any party and what Kerry has said is no more than a media bubble at our people’s expense,” Al-Mekhlafi told Al-Jazeera television.
Kerry, in what could be his last trip to the Gulf before Obama’s term ends in January, is seeking a breakthrough to end the fighting between the Houthis, backed by Iran, and the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
“The key is now to get everybody on board,” he said, adding that it was now essential to implement a UN peace road map drawn up by special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
“We have to have the final pieces, but I’m very hopeful that this can really come together, and has the potential to be a real turning point in this conflict, providing that everybody does their part,” Kerry added.
Saudis intercept missile
Saudi air defense forces on Tuesday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired from Yemen toward the Kingdom.
The missile was fired toward Najran but was shot down, said a coalition statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Coalition forces responded by targeting the source of the fire inside Yemen, it added.