UN envoy says 'deep divisions' prevent Yemen peace talks

UN special envoy to Yemen says that 'deep divisions' block peace talks between warring parties

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed speaks during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, June 19, 2015.

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said on Wednesday that Yemen’s warring parties are not able to agree on terms for a new round of peace talks, two months after holding their first direct meeting.

Cheikh Ahmed said to UN Security Council that "deep divisions persist that prevent me from calling for the next round of talks."

Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government sat down with Iran-backed Houthi militias and their allies in December to begin talks on ending war, which has deeply harmed the Arab country.

The UN-led negotiations held in Switzerland were to resume in mid-January. But were delayed and no new date has been announced.

The UN envoy said the parties were divided on "whether a new round of talks should be convened with or without a new cessation of hostilities" and were not willing to offer sufficient guarantees that a truce would hold.

"We cannot delay these talks beyond, in my view, the month of March," the envoy told reporters.

Meanwhile a suicide bomber killed at least 14 soldiers in Aden on Wednesday, in the latest attack in Yemen's second largest city, attack was claimed by the DAESH terrorist organisation.

"Many parts of Yemen are again witnessing air strikes and extensive ground fighting," said the envoy.

United Nations' Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien warned on Tuesday that a “humanitarian catastrophe” is rising in Yemen.

O'Brien said that the war has claimed more than 35,000 casualties since March 2015 including over 6,000 deaths. At least 7.6 million people are "severely food insecure," more than 3.4 million children now out of school and nearly 600 health facilities and over 1,170 schools unfit for use because of the conflict.

TRTWorld and agencies