Hadi government rejects UN peace plan
SANA'A - It has been a tough period for UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as the internationally recognised government of Yemen rejected his latest peace plan and the Iran-allied Houthi rebels labelled him a liar.
Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government not only rejected the UN peace plan, it also refused a printed copy that was put together by Ould Cheikh Ahmed, sources said, adding that the government said it catered to demands of the Houthi rebels.
Hadi described the new proposal as an “explicit departure” from UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls on the rebels to withdraw from territory they have captured since 2014. The Houthis described the proposal as a “basis for discussion” but that it contained “fundamental flaws”.
Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in government-controlled Aden to protest the UN plan, which coincided with Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s arrival in Sana’a for talks with the rebels.
Details of the UN road map for peace, which has been presented to the militia and endorsed by UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, has yet to be made public but Reuters reported that it all but relegates Hadi to being a symbolic figure.
The UN plan states: “As part of the signing of a complete and comprehensive agreement, the current vice-president (Ali Munsen al-Ahmar) will resign and President Hadi will appoint a new vice-president.”
“After the completion of the withdrawal from Sana’a and the handing over of heavy and medium weapons (including ballistic missiles), Hadi will transfer all his powers to a vice-president, and the vice-president will appoint a new prime minister… (who will form) a national unity government,” the plan added.
Reuters quoted a Yemeni diplomatic source stating that most of the Saudi leadership had agreed to the plan and had encouraged Hadi to deal with it.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam posted on Twitter that Ould Cheikh Ahmed “overstepped his role as a mediator”, adding that he was “lying” and “misleading” the international community.
“His (Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s) false talk about targeting Mecca proves he is just a mouthpiece for the aggression countries,” the spokesman said.
The harsh words stemmed from a recent briefing by Ould Cheikh Ahmed to the UN Security Council in which he mentioned the Houthis’ failed ballistic missile attack in the Mecca region. Saudi-led coalition forces intercepted a missile launched by Houthi militias towards Mecca, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Houthi-controlled media confirmed the missile attack but said the intended target was King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, which is part of the Mecca region.
Shia Houthis and their allies overran Sana’a in September 2014, seizing most of the country and Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition, supported by the United States and Britain, began an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015. Arab coalition ground troops later entered the fight. The United Nations estimates that more than 7,000 people have been killed in the fighting and 2.8 million people displaced.