UN extends Geneva peace talks on Yemen

UN plans to extend delayed Geneva peace talks on Yemen starting after end of initial 48 hour period

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

UN plans to prolong the stalled Geneva peace talks on Yemen with both the exiled government and Iran-backed Houthi militias, starting after the end of the initial 48 hour period for the talks.

The Iranian-backed Houthi delegation in Switzerland mentioned their approval of a ceasefire that would place a limitation on air strikes without including a cessation of hostilities on the ground.

The delegation of Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, opposed the proposal arguing for a full ceasefire to take place.

The Yemeni delegation has agreed on the Houthis’ request for a cease fire in order for humanitarian aid to enter, only if the Houthis and their supporters strictly follow UN Security Council resolution 2216 that was passed in April.

Resolution 2216 states that the Houthis are to evacuate from the cities and relinquish all captured weapons, in order to not cause instability with neighbouring countries and to put an end to the recruitment of children into militia fighting ranks.

“We are hoping for a permanent humanitarian ceasefire, not a temporary truce. Because a temporary truce is exploited to spread the battlefield and as a tactical measure by some parties,” Khaled Bahah, Yemen's Vice President in exile, told reporters at the Arab League in Cairo.

Since March 25th, a Saudi-led coalition has been aiding the exiled government to restore its territorial integrity by carrying out air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition included fighter jets from eight different Arab nations. Somalia has made its airspace, territorial waters and military bases available for coalition use. The United States has provided intelligence and logistical support. While Pakistan agreed to provide warships to help the coalition enforce the naval blockade.

Caught between the two fighting sides, Yemen has been facing an extensive humanitarian crisis.

On Thursday, Yemeni opponents of the Houthi militias interrupted a news conference by Houthi officials, throwing shoes and insulting them as “criminals” and “dogs” who were “killing the children of south Yemen.”

A woman, whose name has not been mentioned to the press, approached the podium and threw her shoe at Hamza Al-Houthi, head of the Houthi delegation, who maintained his composure throughout the incident which led to a fistfight between the Houthis and protesters whom were then hauled out.

The UN official trying to reach a settlement between the clashing parties, Ahmad Fawzi, is hoping to announce progress by the end of this Friday, though negotiations could continue until the weekend.

TRTWorld and agencies