Yemen foreign minister reveals UN talks to be postponed
Khaled Al Yamani says Houthis are to blame
UN-led Yemen consultations were set to be formally postponed on Saturday having failed to secure participation of representatives of the Houthi delegation.
The Sanaa faction failed to show up in Geneva after raising a series of last-minute demands and according to the Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani the UN envoy would temporarily halt the process at a press conference on Saturday.
“As a results of the [Houthis] absence the process will be postponed and we look forward to more serious and engaging process in the future,” Mr Al Yamani told the National.
Consultations in Geneva were supposed to convene on Thursday but were postponed as the rebels’ representatives were refusing to fly from Yemen on Friday. The government negotiating team arrived in the Swiss city on Wednesday and have held several informal meetings with the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The Yemeni minister who is leading the government delegation called on the international community to put more pressure on the Houthi rebels to engage in UN led consultations.
“We don't want to jump into conclusions that the Houthis are not ready to achieve durable peace in Yemen,” he said, adding that peace can only be achieved “when we're sitting through a table of negotiations.”
The Houthis first claimed that they had not received authorisation to fly out of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital they seized in 2014, before demanding that wounded rebel fighters be transported to Oman for treatment and a guarantee the delegation would be allowed to return to Yemen.
“We came to Geneva open for discussion, we’ve had several meetings with the UN Envoy and his team and we will always be positive,” he said.
Mr Al Yamani said that Iran is using Hezbollah as the main agent of its expansionist policies in Yemen.
“The meeting that occurred between Hezbollah and the Houthis shows that their absence today is due to the instructions they have received from Hassan Nasrallah,” Mr Al Yamani said.
We sent a note to the UN Security Council condemning Hezbollah’s manipulation of the Houthis, the minister added.
“Hezbollah is sending their military expertise, fighters into Yemen to destroy the country,” he said.
The Saudi-led military coalition supporting President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi controls Yemen's airspace after intervening in the civil war in 2015.
Mr Yamani said the consultations in Geneva focused on the issues of releasing prisoners, delivery of humanitarian aid to areas such as Taiz and getting both sides to agree upon a unifying central bank operations.
“We think that they[Houthis] are punishing Taiz, because of the resistance there, which has resulted in a miserable humanitarian catastrophe, the Houthis have closed access to Taiz from the areas that they had captured,” the minister said.
The delegation was working on issues related to salary payment, he said the government can’t pay salaries in areas controlled by the Houthis.
“We need the Houthis to be involved because they are attaining the wealth of resources from areas they control and they should send it to the central bank in order to pay salaries,” Mr Al Yamani said.
Diplomatic sources in Geneva told The National on Friday that all sides were working towards getting the Houthi delegation to travel to the Swiss city.
Mr Griffiths is scheduled to speak at 10am on Saturday in Geneva.
His spokesman was not available to comment late Friday.
Updated: September 8, 2018 01:39 PM