Yemen government threatens to quit peace talks, giving the “last chance” for UN envoy

Sana: Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek Al-Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation, threatened on Tuesday to quit the talks with Iran-backed rebels, giving the “last chance” for UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to make them comply with UN resolutions.

Mikhlafi told a press conference that. “We have informed the UN special envoy to bring a document signed by the rebels in which they recognise the basic references and UN Security Council resolutions.”

He said.”If they sign and comply, we will go back to the talks … If they don’t comply, the talks will then have no meaning… They become a waste of time.”

He said nothing has been achieved since the talks began on April 21 and “we have been revolving in a vacuum”.

The foreign minister’s threat came hours after the government delegation suspended its participation in the UN-brokered negotiations for the second time this month.

The withdrawal came two days after the UN envoy said he was optimistic about achieving a peaceful settlement in the war-torn country.

The government wants the Huthis to comply with a Security Council resolution ordering them to pull out of territory they occupied in a 2014 offensive and surrender heavy arms they captured.

The two delegations were trying to finalize a deal to release half of the detainees and prisoners they hold before the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in early June.

Al Houthis have declared the release of 187 prisoners and Saudi Arabia, which backs Hadi’s administration, said last week it freed 52 prisoners. The southern city Aden would return its headquarters to Sana’a “within two months.”

The head of the Al Houthi delegation, Mohammad Abdul Salam said. “Any deal that does not meet our demands on forming a consensual authority… will be rejected.”

According to a diplomatic source. “10 of the 18 countries sponsoring the negotiations have promised to provide guarantees for any peace settlement.”

The UN figures says since March 2015, Saudi-led Arab coalition has cost more than 6,400 and another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.