UN envoy lands in Aden to meet Yemen president

Visit comes after Hadi snubbed him in Riyadh earlier this week

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: United Nations envoy to Yemen Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad on Thursday arrived in Yemen’s port city of Aden to convince the internationally-recognised president and his government to change their stance on his latest peace plan, local government officials said.

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is currently based in Aden, has strongly opposed the plan that demands him and vice-president to step down and hand over their powers to a new vice-president in exchange for Al Houthis withdrawing from cities under their control and handing over arms to neutral army units.

Ahead of Ould Shaikh Ahmad’s visit to Aden, Yemen’s government urged the UN envoy to change the plan’s terms as to comply with the UN Security Council resolution 2216 that obliges Al Houthis to pull out of cities and allow the government to return to Sana’a before making any political arrangements.

Hadi refused to meet the UN envoy in Riyadh earlier this week in protest against the plan and vowed to step up military operations to recapture Al Houthi-held provinces including Sana’a and Taiz.

On Thursday, Abdullah Al Alami, Hadi’s chief of staff, tweeted that the UN envoy received a paper from the government detailing “violations” his plan contained.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, landed on Thursday in Marib city as the Yemeni army began sending heavy arms from Hadramout to battlefields in northern Yemen.

He was the last senior official to leave his base in Saudi Arabia.

He is to reside in Marib to lead the fight against Iran-backed Al Houthis in the rugged Nehim district and other places surrounding the capital, Sana’a.

A senior army officer from 37th Armoured Brigade in Hadramout’s desert district of Aber said on Thursday that the army began transporting some of brigade’s heavy arms to the city of Marib to reinforce government forces battling Al Houthis in Marib, Sana’a and Jawf.

Photos of long lines of vehicles carrying tanks leaving the brigade were widely circulated on social media and local media outlets.

Heavy fighting broke out in the northern province of Jawf on Thursday morning when government forces attacked the Al Houthi-allied Ham brigade north of Metoun.

Similar clashes erupted in Nehim district, outside Sana’a, as government forces liberated many mountains after killing six Al Houthis and injured many others and seized heavy machine guns, according to Abdullah Al Shandaqi, a spokesperson for Sana’a resistance.

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