Two-week time limit for troubled Yemen peace talks

Sunday 24/07/2016
Kuwait meetings offer rare opportunity

SANA'A - Angered by the lack of progress, Kuwaiti of­ficials hosting the troubled peace talks to end the war in Yemen warned negotiators to reach a deal by early August or get out.
“We have given 15 days for Yem­eni sides taking part in the talks to resolve all the issues,” Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al- Jarallah told Al Arabiya news in a July 20th interview from Brussels.
“If matters are not resolved within the 15 days, we have hosted them enough and consequently our brothers have to excuse us if we cannot continue hosting” the talks, Jarallah added.
Talks resumed July 16th after a two-week break that included UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed working to convince the internationally recognised gov­ernment to return to negotiations with representatives of the Houthi rebels.
Yemeni political analyst Abdul­lah Ismail said the feeling in Ku­wait is that negotiations with no time limit would not spark the re­quired sense of urgency needed to achieve tangible results.
According to a government source, who spoke on the condi­tion of anonymity, international backers of the Kuwait peace talks have tilted more towards the gov­ernment of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the need to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
Foreign ministers from the Unit­ed Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia met on July 20th with their US and UK counterparts in London to dis­cuss the situation in Yemen. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Af­fairs Anwar Gargash described the meeting as “positive and reflecting the high level of coordination and rapprochement among regional and international powers”.
In a message on his official Twit­ter account following the meeting, Gargash wrote that the officials agreed that the talks were at a cru­cial state and pledged support to international efforts aimed at re­solving the Yemeni crisis.
Gargash emphasised the need for the Yemenis to realise that the Kuwait meetings offer a rare opportunity, urging them to rise above personal ambitions to over­come this crisis.
A statement released by Britain’s Foreign Office said: “The ministers expressed their concern about the deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation in Yemen and reiterated their strong support for Ould Cheikh Ahmed and for the role of the United Nations in me­diating a lasting political solution to the crisis, based on the agreed references for the UN talks, name­ly the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216, the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] initiative and the out­comes of the National Dialogue Conference.”
The Houthis on July 19th fired a ballistic missile at the Saudi bor­der in what it said was retaliation over Saudi-led coalition air strikes. Saudi officials answered with air strikes the next day that targeted Houthi military installations.
UN Security Council Resolution 2216 requires the Houthi militias and their allies to withdraw from areas, including Sana’a, they took over 2014 and to hand over heavy weapons.
The war in Yemen began after the Shia Houthis and their allies overran Sana’a in September 2014, seizing most of the country and leading Hadi to flee to Saudi Ara­bia.
An Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and 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. Ac­cording to UN estimates, more than 6,400 people have been killed since the start of military engage­ment, with 2.8 million people dis­placed.