UN mediator in Yemen to press for peace talks

2015-12-05 18:56
Yemeni Shi’ite, known as Houthis, chant slogans during a protest against Saudi-led airstrikes in Sana’a. (Hani Mohammed, AP)

Yemeni Shi’ite, known as Houthis, chant slogans during a protest against Saudi-led airstrikes in Sana’a. (Hani Mohammed, AP)

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Aden - The UN mediator travelled on Saturday to Aden in south Yemen to press for the government and Shi’ite rebels to open long-delayed peace talks on December 12 in Geneva, a Yemeni official said.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was to meet with President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has declared the port city of Aden Yemen's provisional capital following the rebels' capture of Sanaa and other regions of the country over the past year.

"Mr Ould Cheikh Ahmed is seeking the agreement of President Hadi to convening the talks in Geneva on December 12," said a senior official close to the president.

"But this mission will be difficult," said the source, accusing the rebels of dragging their feet on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2216 which calls for them to withdraw from occupied territory.

"The putschists are refusing to lay down their arms or to allow the government to carry out its duties" from Sanaa, said Foreign Minister Abdel Malak al-Mekhlafi.

Also, "they have not announced their list of negotiators" for the talks "and are trying to escalate the situation on the ground by bombing residential districts of Taez," a strategically located city in southwest Yemen under siege by the rebels and their allies, he added.

More than 5 700 people have been killed in Yemen, almost half of them civilians, since a Saudi-led air campaign was launched in March in support of the government, according to the UN.

Read more on:    un  |  yemen  |  security

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