Yemen’s government reverses decision to quit Kuwait talks

Sanaa: Yemen’s internationally-recognized government agreed today to extend peace talks with Shiite rebels for another week, reversing an earlier decision to quit the negotiations hosted by Kuwait, according to Yemeni state television.

It said President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, following consultations with top aides, has agreed to proposals by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed for the rebels to pull out of cities, including the capital Sanaa, and hand over weapons they looted from army depots within 45 days.

News of the decision to continue the talks was soon followed by a fresh wave of violence that underlines the country’s precarious security conditions.

In the southern port city of Aden, a pro-government militia leader was killed and three of his guards were wounded when a bomb planted in their car was remotely detonated, security officials said.

They identified the militia commander as Saleh al-Geneidi, leader of a pro-government militia in Lawdar, in the southern Abyan province.

Also in Aden, said the officials, a car bomb apparently intending to hit a military convoy belonging to the United Arab Emirates’ forces in the city went off but missed its target. The officials said they suspected that militants of al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen were behind the two attacks in Aden.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The proposals by the U.N. Envoy to Yemen also provide for the annulment of political bodies emanating from last week’s formalization of an alliance between the Iranian-backed rebels and the General People’s Congress, the political party led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The UN envoy has said the alliance violated international resolutions and urged both sides to “refrain from unilateral actions that undermine political transition.”

Saleh and the rebels, known as Houthis, have been allies since 2014. The two sides were adversaries when Saleh ruled Yemen and fought each other for six years until 2010.

The longtime autocrat was forced out in a 2011 popular uprising. Under terms of the deal brokered to remove him from power, Saleh received immunity from any prosecution. But he remained in Yemen and army and security troops loyal to him helped the Houthis drive the internationally recognized government from the capital.

Hadi’s government is backed by a US-assisted, Saudi-led military coalition that has been fighting the Shiite rebels and their allies since March 2015.