The US has urged the UN Security Council to put on hold a draft resolution demanding an immediate truce in Yemen, in what is viewed as an attempt to hinder international efforts aimed at ending the Washington-backed Saudi war on the impoverished country.
In a message sent to other council members on Tuesday, the US mission signaled that it was reluctant to act on the UK-drafted resolution until after the talks had taken place in Stockholm in early December.
“We look forward to offering more substantive comments to the draft once we have more information on the outcomes of the upcoming consultations,” the message said.
Britain circulated the draft text to the 15-member council a week ago and called on parties involved in Yemen’s crisis to restart peace negotiations.
The draft sets a two-week deadline for warring Yemeni parties to remove all barriers to humanitarian aid, halt attacks on civilian areas and allow unhindered access to the strategic port city of Hudaydah.
Negotiations on the proposed resolution — the first to be discussed by the council on Yemen since 2015 — began last week, but no decision has been made on when the draft should be put to a vote.
The truce would take effect on the day of the adoption of the resolution.
Additionally, the Security Council has demanded that the warring sides in Yemen engage with the UN special envoy for the impoverished country, Martin Griffiths.
UN diplomats said that Griffiths was hoping to bring the warring sides to Sweden for negotiations that could begin as early as December 3.
The diplomats, however, said they did not expect a vote this week on the measure due to the US’s reluctance to put pressure on the Saudi-led coalition, which has Washington’s firm support in the bloody war against Yemen.
The United States made a surprise call for a truce in the war-ravaged country last month and threw its weight behind the UN-led effort to hold peace talks.
That call came as the war became the focus of attention amid international outrage over the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, early in October.
Yemen was grappling with a domestic political conflict when the Saudi regime and its allies intervened in March 2015 and unleashed the military campaign in favor of the government of ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close Riyadh ally who had earlier resigned and fled to the Saudi capital.
Another party to the conflict is Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement which has been running state affairs from Sana’a in the absence of an effective government besides defending the country against the Saudi aggression.
The offensive initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen.
Over the past few months, Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Hadi and foreign mercenaries have been fighting Houthi Ansarullah for the control of the port city of Hudaydah, a vital conduit and lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian aid to millions of Yemeni people.
The spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says the increase in the number of Saudi-led airstrikes on Hudaydah will destroy UN peace efforts.
During a meeting with Griffiths in Sana’a on Thursday, the leader of the Houthi Ansarullah movement praised positive initiatives and practical steps, which seek to ensure a political solution to the Yemeni conflict.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi then demanded an immediate end to the Saudi-led aggression, the removal of the blockade and humanitarian aid deliveries to war-stricken people.
Last week, the administration of Hadi announced that it would take part in the proposed peace talks in Sweden, hours after the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said Ansarullah fighters were halting their retaliatory attacks as a goodwill measure to speed up the “peace” process.
Griffiths says that he has received “firm assurances” that the warring Yemeni parties would attend talks in the Swedish city of Stockholm.
The Saudi-backed side has, however, stepped up the raids aimed at seizing Hudaydah despite the peace efforts.
Ansarullah has warned that the rise in Saudi assaults on Hudaydah could frustrate efforts by Griffiths to rekindle peace talks in Sweden next month.