Yemen Peace Talks End With No End to Conflict


Photo

Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi, Yemen’s foreign minister, left, and Ezzaldin al-Asbahi, the human rights minister, in Switzerland on Sunday.

Credit
Ruben Sprich/Reuters

CAIRO — Days of negotiations in Switzerland to halt the war in Yemen ended on Sunday with no sign of a resolution to the conflict and with the combatants engaged in some of their fiercest fighting in months, according to negotiators and diplomats.

The United Nations-brokered talks, which began on Tuesday, were aimed at ending the nine-month war between Yemen’s Houthi rebels and the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  As the talks began, there were reasons for optimism:  After several previous attempts to hold negotiations failed, the combatants sat down together for the first time during the conflict, and even agreed publicly to a cease-fire.

At the same time, international pressure has been mounting for a resolution to the war, which has left nearly 6,000 people dead and the country crippled by a severe humanitarian crisis.

But despite making what the United Nations called “serious progress” in the discussions, repeated violations of the cease-fire appeared to have doomed the current round, according to a statement issued by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations special envoy to Yemen.  He said that the negotiations would resume in mid-January. 

But as a new deadline approached, the hostilities appeared to be accelerating. Political leaders have appeared unwilling to stop the fighting, perhaps hoping to tip the negotiations in their favor, or else, lacking any influence over the multitude of armed groups that have sprung up during the war. 

In recent days, anti-Houthi fighters have mounted a broad offensive across several northern provinces, and captured new territory, including a provincial capital.  The anti-Houthi forces are backed by a Saudi -led military coalition that has been conducting an aerial campaign against the rebels since March. Human rights groups say that bombing by the coalition is responsible for the majority of civilian deaths during the war.

The Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes in Sana and other areas on Saturday and Sunday.  And the Houthis, who have been making increasingly bold military incursions across the border into Saudi Arabia, have fired ballistic missiles at the Saudi-backed forces in the past few days, according to Yemeni military officials. 

Despite the continuing fighting, one diplomat said there had been a “palpable warming on a personal level between the two delegations over the course of the week.”  The diplomat, who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks, said that the issue of prisoner releases appeared to be one of the most difficult to resolve.

Abdul Wahab al-Humigani, a government negotiator, writing on Facebook, blamed the collapse of the talks on the Houthis’ “intransigence,” including on the issue of releasing prisoners. 

Nasser Bagazgooz, who was part of the Houthi delegation, asserted that his side had made “big” concessions, including agreeing to withdraw Houthi forces from cities and from government institutions, and to hand over weapons. 

The Houthis had asked for the formation of a new government “from across the political spectrum,” and elections within a year, he added. 



Source link

About admin

Check Also

In a Blow to Hamas, Israel Destroys Tunnel From Gaza

JERUSALEM — Israel said on Sunday that it had destroyed a tunnel dug by Hamas ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *