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Yemen Peace Talks Broach Military, Security Concerns

15 June 2016 14:59

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Yemen’s warring parties have discussed forming military and security committees to oversee a transition period aimed at ending 14 months of Saudi aggression against the impoverished Arab country, the UN special envoy said Wednesday.

“Discussions continued on security and military issues, including the details of military and security committees,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement early Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Peace talks in Kuwait between representatives of the Houthi movement and government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi have completed their eighth week without any major breakthrough other than the release of some prisoners.

Houthi fighters have announced the release of 187 prisoners and Saudi Arabia, which backs Hadi’s administration, claimed last week it freed 52 children.

The UN envoy had tried to push the two sides to release half of all their prisoners before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on June 6.

The main sticking point in talks remains the form of the government that would oversee a transition back to normality once a peace deal is reached.

The head of the Houthi delegation Mohammed Abdulsalam told Yemeni media late Tuesday that they would reject any deal that does not include their input on the makeup of the transitional body.

“Any deal that does not meet our demands of forming a consensual authority… will be rejected,” Abdulsalam said.

This should include Houthi agreement on the president, the national unity government and military and security committees, he said.

The pro-Hadi delegation has resisted proposals for a unity administration with the revolutionary fighters, fearing it would undermine the so-called international legitimacy of Hadi.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Nearly 9,400 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

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