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Al Houthis torpedo peace talks, form government

Yemeni government condemns move, says it amounts to the end of peace talks

Image Credit: Reuters
A general view shows the Old City of Sanaa, Yemen. Al Houthi rebels and the General People’s Congress of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have agreed to “form a supreme political council of 10 members”, according to a statement carried by a rebel-run news agency.
Gulf News

Dubai: Yemen’s rebels and their allies on Thursday formed a 10-member “supreme council” to run Yemen, in the latest sign of the failure of UN-brokered peace talks with the government.

Al Houthi rebels and the General People’s Congress of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have agreed to “form a supreme political council of 10 members”, according to a statement carried by a rebel-run news agency.

In a statement carried by the Al Houthi-run state news agency sabanews.net, the two groups said that the council would include a rotating leadership that included a president and a deputy from both sides. It did not name the council’s members.

The move was condemned by the government. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malik Al Mikhlafi, quoted by Sky News Arabia, suggested that the declaration amounted to the failure of peace talks being held in Kuwait.

“The putschists have successfully convinced the world that they are against peace and are responsible for the failure of the talks... Everyone knows who has waged war in our country and sought to destroy it with war and a coup despite us extending our hands for peace," Al Mikhlafi said.

Reacting to the move, Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted: The setting up of a political council is a desperate attempt by those who turned against the legitimate government and dragged Yemen to violence. Their attempt to dodge the Kuwait negotiations has been exposed. It has been made clear to the international community that Al Houthis, who represent less than 1% of the population, have become addicted to power and wealth, and the new political council comes in that context.

 

The move comes as UN-sponsored peace talks now underway in Kuwait show no signs of producing an agreement to end Yemen’s civil war. The conflict has drawn in a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

Othman Al Majalli, minister for parliamentary affairs, told Sky News Arabia that the declaration was “a coup against the negotiations”, stressing that the government will strive to liberate the country from the Al Houthi occupation.

“The aim is to unify efforts to confront the aggression by Saudi Arabia and its allies,” the statement said in reference to the Riyadh-led Arab coalition that launched a military campaign against the rebels in March last year in support of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The job of the council will be to “manage state affairs politically, militarily, economically, administratively, socially and in security”.

The rebels overran Sana’a in September 2014 and expanded their control to other parts of Yemen.

In February last year, they had set up a “Supreme Revolutionary Council” to run the country after they announced a dissolution of the government and parliament.

UN-sponsored talks between the rebels and representatives of Hadi’s government, which began in April, have failed to make headway.

The indirect negotiations being held in Kuwait were launched after the United Nations secured an agreement on a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

- with inputs from agencies

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