Yemen government delegation to peace talks leaves Kuwait

Sunday 31/07/2016
If Huthis agree to plan, government delegation will return

KUWAIT CITY - Yemen's government delegation to peace talks has decided to leave Kuwait on Monday after the rebel side rejected a draft peace plan proposed by the United Nations, a spokesman said.

"We are leaving today after having completed our part in the talks," spokesman Mohammed al-Emrani said.

"The ball is now in the rebels' court," he said.

The delegation is returning to Riyadh after informing UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed that it was ready to sign the proposed peace plan which the rebels rejected, Emrani said.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels and their allies, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's loyalists, rejected the peace plan on Sunday, saying it was incomplete.

"The other party now has the key to make the talks fail or succeed... If they agree to the plan, our delegation will return," Emrani said.

The government delegation's decision to leave host country Kuwait came after a meeting with Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

According to the government, the draft plan calls for the rebels to withdraw from the capital Sanaa and two major cities, hand over heavy arms and return state institutions they seized in September 2014.

The rebels said that first a national unity government must be formed and a new consensus president appointed to oversee the transition.

Yemen, home to what the United States sees as Al-Qaeda's deadliest franchise, descended into chaos after the 2012 ouster of longtime strongman Saleh.

Security deteriorated further after the Huthis swept into Sanaa and pushed south, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government to flee into exile in March last year.

The United Nations says the conflict has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since then, when a Saudi-led Arab coalition launched a military campaign in support of Hadi.