Tue, May 26, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Yemeni peace talks delayed by more fighting

Reuters, CAIRO and ADEN, Yemen

Heavy artillery clashes between Yemen’s dominant Houthi rebels and local fighters shook the southern cities of Taiz and Dalea yesterday, residents said, and a Yemeni official said UN peace talks set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, later this week had been delayed.

Militiamen seized the main security directorate and strategic mountaintop buildings from the Houthis in Dalea, a bastion of a secessionist movement in Yemen’s formerly independent south, much of which has been destroyed in more than two months of fighting.

Ten soldiers loyal to the Houthis and three southern militiamen were killed, fighters and residents said.

In the southern city of Taiz, Houthi fighters pushed back tribal and Muslim militiamen amid heavy street combat and Arab air raids hit a military base loyal to Houthis in the capital, Sana’a, yesterday.

A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the Iran-allied Houthis for months and supporting Yemeni fighters opposing the groups in battle lines drawn across the country.

Yemen’s exiled government in Saudi Arabia, led by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has demanded the Houthis recognize its authority and withdraw from Yemen’s main cities — two points demanded by a UN Security Council resolution last month.

Those demands might have pushed back UN-sponsored negotiations scheduled to take place in Geneva on Thursday.

“The Geneva meeting has been indefinitely postponed, because the Houthis did not indicate their commitment to implement the UN Security Council resolution,” Hadi aide Sultan al-Atwani told reporters by telephone from Riyadh.

“Also, what is happening on ground — the attacks on Aden, Taiz, Dalea and Shabwa — makes it difficult to go to Geneva,” he said.

However, Ahmad Fawzi, a UN spokesman in Geneva, said that he could not confirm the reports of a delay to talks, adding that plans were still underway for negotiations to start on Thursday.

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