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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 16 August 2018

Yemen calls for sustained political pressure on Houthis ahead of proposed Geneva talks

UN urged to be firm on rebel control strategic areas ahead of planned peace talks next month

The Yemen government has called for international pressure on Houthi rebels in strategic areas such as the port city of Hodeidah. Reuters
The Yemen government has called for international pressure on Houthi rebels in strategic areas such as the port city of Hodeidah. Reuters

Yemen has called for more political pressure on Houthi rebels ahead of peace talks being convened by the UN special envoy next month.

"Peace will not be achieved only by expressing support for the efforts of the UN envoy to start the dialogue, but with more political pressure on the Houthi militias," said Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, Yemen's permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council on Thursday.

Mr Bin Mubarak said the council need to take a firm stand on the Houthi rebels retaining access to strategic areas from which they were launching attacks on international shipping.

He cited the rebels' attacks last week on two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea as an example, as well as the planting of hundreds of naval mines targeting Yemeni ships and fishermen.

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition supporting the Yemeni government said those attacks were launched from the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, had urged the council to do more to “keep the Red Sea out of the conflict” as he unveiled plans to begin a first round of peace negotiations in Geneva on September 6.

A coalition-led offensive to retake Hodeidah was suspended in early July to assist Mr Griffiths' mediation efforts.

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Mr Bin Mubarak said his government also insisted that the UN-led peace efforts "respect its prerogatives and the legitimacy of its institutions, taking into consideration that the legitimate government is the only party which has the right of administering all the Yemeni provinces and state institutions without exception".

Otherwise, it would be considered "a violation for the international laws and an empowerment of the Houthi militia to keep their illegal control over Yemen", he said in remarks reported by Yemen's state-owned Saba news agency.

Mr Bin Mubarak said the Yemeni government was committed to a comprehensive and sustainable peace based on three reference points: the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism; the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, and Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 2216.

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