Two-week time limit for troubled Yemen peace talks
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.