Houthis surprised by UN-proposed peace agreement
The Houthi movement has expressed surprise at a new UN peace proposal on the conflict in Yemen, saying the United Nations has altered the terms of a draft agreement worked out in Kuwait.
On Saturday, UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the talks had been extended by a week after they came on the verge of collapse when the Saudi-backed side abandoned the negotiations.
The Saudi side, however, reversed its position on Sunday, saying it has agreed to extend peace talks in Kuwait with Houthis and their General People’s Congress party allies.
Ansarullah delegates said the new plan offered by the world body was a non-starter, because it merely constituted a framework, far from being a peace deal for signing.
They dismissed the proposal, saying its terms differed from the actual text agreed between the Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed representatives before.
“We have asserted to Ould Cheikh (Ahmed) that the solution must be comprehensive and that no subject is delayed,” the Houthi delegation said in a statement, while stressing its commitment to further talks for peace.
The Houthis also accused the UN envoy of siding with the representatives of the former Saudi-backed president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
A Yemeni television supporting Hadi said the decision to continue the talks was made after the former president consulted with advisers.
It said Hadi has also accepted proposals put forward by Cheikh Ahmed for the Houthi fighters to pull out of cities, including the capital Sana’a, and hand over weapons within 45 days.
Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, the head of the pro-Hadi delegation, said he has already sent a letter to Cheikh Ahmed, informing him that they had accepted the new proposal.
Hadi is backed by a US-assisted, Saudi military campaign that has been pummeling Yemen since March 2015.
The Saudi military continues to pound Yemen on a daily basis despite a truce which took effect in Yemen on April 11 in order to give peace efforts a chance.
In their latest attack, Saudi military aircraft reportedly struck the positions of Ansarullah fighters close to the kingdom’s southwestern border city of Najran.
On Sunday, the Saudi state news agency SPA said seven Saudi troops and dozens of Houthis were killed in heavy fighting on the border with Yemen.
The fighting reportedly took place near the Saudi border at the Rabou’a area on Saturday.
Riyadh’s military campaign against Yemen began last March in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to reinstate Hadi, a close ally of Saudi rulers. Over 10,000 Yemenis have so far been killed in the assaults.