Kuwait City: The UN special envoy to Yemen on Monday urged the country’s warring parties to make concessions to save peace talks aimed at ending a devastating 13-month war.
The appeal by Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad came after face-to-face talks broke off with the government delegation complaining of a lack of progress and the Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels protesting about air raids by the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
After holding several separate meetings with each delegation, Ould Shaikh Ahmad called on the two sides to “make concessions in order to strike a comprehensive peaceful solution” to end Yemen’s deadly conflict.
“The participants in the Kuwait negotiations must reflect the aspirations of the Yemeni people. I am confident that Yemenis want an end to the conflict,” he said in a statement.
All direct meetings scheduled for Sunday were called off, but the UN envoy said new talks are scheduled for Monday and appealed for cooperation.
The two delegations also met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah and ambassadors of the 18 mostly Western countries backing the talks in a bid to bring the Yemeni foes back to the negotiating table.
Yemen’s foreign minister said the talks which began on April 21 made no headway.
“For the sake of peace, we have accepted all proposals submitted to us in order to progress,” said Abdul Malek Al Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation.
“But after three weeks, we have nothing in our hands because the other party backed down on its commitments,” Al Mikhlafi wrote on Twitter.
The rebels and their allies have demanded the formation of a consensus transitional government before forging ahead with other issues that require them to surrender arms and withdraw from territories they occupied in 2014.
The talks, which come after two failed attempts in June and December last year in Switzerland, are based on UN Security Council resolution, which orders the rebels to withdraw and surrender heavy weaponry they had seized.