Formation of new Houthi gov’t does not help Yemen, says UN envoy
GENEVA – ReutersThe formation of a new government by Yemen’s armed Houthi movement and its political allies will hinder peace efforts in the country, the U.N. special envoy to Yemen said on Nov. 29.
The move, reported by the Houthi-run state news agency on Nov. 28, has been seen as a blow to U.N.-backed efforts to end 20 months of war in Yemen.
“The announcement by [the Houthi] Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress on the formation of a new government in Sana’a represents a new and concerning obstacle to the peace process and does not serve the interests of the people of Yemen in these difficult times,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.
The unilateral declaration contradicted recent comments by the Houthis to the U.N. and to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and only complicated the search for a peace deal, which needed to be based on U.N. talks, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.
“There is still a chance to pull Yemen back from the brink,” he said, adding that all parties to the conflict should recommit to a cessation of hostilities, including a complete halt to ground and air military activities.
The formation of the new government was also condemned by the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose member Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition backing Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the internationally recognized president.
The coalition has carried out thousands of air strikes on the Houthis but failed to dislodge them from the capital Sanaa.
“The step of forming a government indicates the enormous importance of reinforcing our domestic position and serving the people, despite the difficult economic situation,” the Houthi group’s leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, said in a statement carried on the website of a Houthi-controlled news channel.
Hadi, on the other hand, accused the rebels and their allies of dashing hopes for peace.
Hadi said the formation by the Iran-backed rebels of a government of national salvation showed their determination to “spread chaos and destruction” and “destroys any chance of dialogue and peace.”
Speaking through a spokesman from Yemen’s second city Aden, the seat of his beleaguered government, Hadi called on the international community to “condemn this move and hold the militia responsible for the collapse of peace efforts.”