UN says Yemen talks delayed, urges rebels to join
KUWAIT CITY – Agence France-Presse
A tribesman loyal to the Houthi movement carries his rifle as he attends a gathering in Yemen's capital Sanaa, April 17, 2016 - REUTERS photoPeace talks between Yemen’s warring parties due to begin in Kuwait on April 18 have been delayed, U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said, urging the country’s rebels to take part.
“Due to developments over the last few hours, the start of the Yemeni-Yemeni peace negotiations scheduled to begin today... in Kuwait, will be delayed,” the envoy said in a statement, without specifying when they might take place.
“We are working to overcome the latest challenges and ask the delegations to show good faith [and] participate in the talks in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Yemen,” said Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
“The next few hours are crucial,” he warned, calling on all parties to “take their responsibilities seriously and agree on comprehensive solutions.”
He urged the Houthi rebels and their allies not to “miss this opportunity that could save Yemen the loss of more lives.”
The start of the talks was delayed on the morning of April 18 after the insurgent delegation failed to show up in Kuwait claiming truce violations.
The talks aim to bring an end to 13 months of fighting that have devastated already-impoverished Yemen and are taking place after a ceasefire came into effect one week ago but was repeatedly breached.
Representatives of the internationally-recognized government as well as the Iran-backed rebel Houthis and their allies - loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh - were supposed to gather in Kuwait for a new round of peace negotiations.
A government delegation led by Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi was in Kuwait on April 18 awaiting the arrival of the rebel delegation.
“Until now we don’t have information except that the Houthi delegation is late,” a source close to the government delegation in Kuwait City told AFP.
“They haven’t left Sanaa and are procrastinating,” the source said.