Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Yemen government accepts UN peace deal

AFP, KUWAIT CITY

The Yemeni government yesterday said it has accepted a UN-proposed peace agreement to end more than a year of armed conflict, but there has been no word from the rebels.

The announcement by the Saudi-backed government came after a high-level meeting in Riyadh chaired by Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“The meeting approved the draft agreement presented by the United Nations calling for an end to the armed conflict and the withdrawal [of rebels] from Sana’a ... and the cities of Taez and al-Hudaydah,” said a statement, cited by the Saba news agency.

Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who is leading negotiating team in Kuwait City, said he has sent a letter to the UN special envoy informing him the government backed the “Kuwait Agreement.”

However, one pre-condition is that the Iran-backed Houthis and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh sign the deal by Sunday, al-Mikhlafi wrote on Twitter.

He said that the Yemeni leadership has authorized the delegation to sign the deal, which has received strong international and regional backing.

There has been no official reaction from the rebels.

However, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Twitter before the government announcement that the rebels insist on a comprehensive and complete solution, and rejected what he called “half solutions.”

Under the agreement, all decisions made by the rebels since they occupied the capital in September 2014 will be scrapped, al-Mikhlafi said.

The deal also abolishes the controversial supreme political council set up jointly by the Houthis and the General People’s Congress of former president Saleh on Thursday to run the country, he said.

A political dialogue between various Yemeni factions is to start 45 days after the rebels withdraw and hand over heavy weapons to a military committee to be formed by Hadi.

Prisoners of war would also be freed, as specified by the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, the agreement said.

The talks in Kuwait, which began on April 21, have so far made no major breakthrough.

UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Saturday managed to extend talks for a week after the government delegation said it was leaving, and submitted the peace deal draft to both sides.

The government approval also came hours after seven Saudi troops were killed in border clashes with Yemeni rebels.

More than 6,400 people have been killed in the Arabian Peninsula state since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March last year in support of Hadi’s government.

Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.

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