UN to convene Yemen talks in middle of June in Geneva

UN planning to convene peace negotiations between Yemen’s warring parties on June 14 in Geneva in order to end several months of crisis

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Feb 7, 2016

The United Nations proposed to convene the belligerent parties of Yemen’s several months of conflicts during which the Iranian-backed Houthi militias had advanced towards the capital Sanaa and dispelled the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi through a military coup in February, setting the date on June 14.

The UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Security Council on Wednesday that the parties have been invited to the peace talks conference that will be held in Geneva on June 14.

Both Yemen’s internationally-recognised exiled government led-by the embattled President Hadi and Houthi representatives announced their participation to the UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva on Thursday.

The long envisaged peace talks with the auspices of the UN was postponed last week due to objections made by the Yemeni government that has long been demanding the Houthi militias to withdraw from Sanaa and recognise the Hadi government as a prerequisite.

On their part, the Houthi forces want an immediate ceasefire to start peace talks with the central government which they forced to flee the country to the neighbouring ally Saudi Arabia in April.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies started an aerial operation, dubbed “Decisive Storm” on March 26 to halt the Houthi advancement from Sanaa to Aden as they justified their involvement with the claim of “defending the legitimate government” of Hadi.

The Saudi-led coalition has been accusing Iran of “irredentism” over Yemen through supporting the Houthi forces, hereby, spreading “aggressiveness” in the Gulf region.

The UN and Western allies of the Saudi-led coalition convinced the parties for a five days of humanitarian ceasefire last month for the allowance of food deliveries, fuel and medical supplies to millions of Yemeni people who were badly affected from the conflicts.

The UN human rights office declared that nearly 2,000 people have been killed and half a million others displaced during the several months of conflict in Yemen.

The peace talks in Geneva are expected to institutionalise mutual dialogue for which the UN ambassador Cheikh Ahmed has been taking a shuttle diplomacy between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militias.

Daifallah al Shami, a member of the Houthis' politburo told Reuters that their forces would take part, and "supports without preconditions the efforts of the UN to organise Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue" in Geneva.

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, deposed during the Arab spring revolutions in 2011, was said to have been waiting an invitation to the Geneva talks, but his loyalists who also control swathes of southern Yemen, are unlikely to be invited by the UN, according to some Yemeni politicians spoke to Reuters.


TRTWorld and agencies