Loyalists of Yemen’s fugitive former president have set conditions for the planned UN-mediated peace talks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement, saying they will not attend the negotiations unless Ansarullah fighters withdraw from the areas they control.
In a statement released on Sunday, loyalists of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said they had decided “not to take part in any meeting” until Ansarullah “recognizes Resolution 2216 and agrees to implement it without conditions.”
The Resolution 2216, which was adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in April, called on Ansarullah revolutionaries to pull back from areas under their control in the impoverished country.
Sunday’s statement came despite a recent call by the UNSC on Yemen’s warring sides to refrain from preconditions and “unilateral actions.”
Hadi’s loyalists had earlier said that they would attend the peace negotiations due in Oman.
On Thursday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN special envoy for Yemen, announced that both Hadi loyalists and Ansarullah fighters had agreed to take part in consultations scheduled for “next week.”
Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, fled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year after Ansarullah took control of the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a and other key cities.
In a bid to undermine the Houthi movement and bring Hadi back to power, Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 without a UN mandate.
According to the UN, the conflict has so far left about 4,500 people dead and thousands of others wounded. Local Yemeni sources, however, say the fatality figure is much higher.