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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 February 2019

The Yemeni people wait for peace

The Houthi rebels and Saleh loyalists continue to refuse to act in good faith
A Yemeni looks at a poster of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the old city of Sana'a, Yemen. Yahya Arhab / EPA
A Yemeni looks at a poster of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the old city of Sana'a, Yemen. Yahya Arhab / EPA

Yemen has been a perilous state since Iran-backed Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh began a reckless bid to take over the country early last year. Since then, a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition that includes UAE forces has been supporting the internationally recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in an effort to return the country to stability and support the will of the Yemeni people. In recent months, there have been several efforts to broker a peace agreement but they have run into several stumbling blocks, not least of which has been intransigence by the Houthis and Saleh loyalists.

As The National reported yesterday, the UN’s special envoy asked Yemen’s warring parties to return to the negotiating table after the Hadi government said that it would no longer participate in talks. The government said that Houthi plans of forming a “supreme council” with former president Saleh to unilaterally run Yemen constituted a new coup against the country. The plan to create a supreme council is part of the Houthi’s attempt to entrench the nominal power that they have secured in parts of the countryside and in the capital, Sanaa. The timing of the announcement was clearly designed to send a message of bad faith in the peace negotiations in Kuwait.

The Houthis and Saleh loyalists have repeatedly tried to sabotage the Kuwait talks with similar announcements and fresh military offensives on the ground. With their cynical attempts to end the peace talks, the Houthi rebels continue to demonstrate their disregard for the Yemeni people and the future health of the country. This newspaper has repeatedly argued that the diplomatic solution to Yemeni crisis is the best path forward. But talks can only happen between two sides that are willing to sit together and discuss the challenges in good will.

The region is united to return Yemen to peace and beginning the difficult process of rebuilding the country. This critical work, however, can only begin when the Houthi rebels agree to come to the negotiating table. As analyst Fadhi Al Rabei noted, the Houthis and Saleh loyalists have yet to learn the language of peace. They only understand the language of force and continue to bring war and destruction on the people of Yemen. The Saudi-led collation will continue to fight for the Hadi government because a safe and secure Yemen is a benefit to the region and the international community as a whole.

Updated: July 31, 2016 04:00 AM

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