Abd Salam Hamad Al Harethi cuts a forlorn figure in his shop selling antiques, souvenirs and silverware in Sana’a. Anxiety reigns in Sana’a, where ordinary people await the outcome of almost a month of peace talks they hope can end a devastating war. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The United Nations envoy for Yemen met on Thursday morning with the country’s government delegation at the peace talks being held in Kuwait to discourage it from walking away from negotiations.

The government delegation threatened on Tuesday to walk out of talks due to the rival Al Houthi delegation’s refusal to acknowledge the authority of internationally recognised President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and its refusal to abide by UN Resolution 2216 on Yemen.

Gulf News reported on Tuesday that President Hadi had ordered his representatives to stay put in Kuwait despite Al Houthi intransigence.

The issue arose when the rebel delegation refused a suggestion by the UN envoy that Hadi head a security committee that would receive arms handed over by them, saying that they do not recognise his authority.

UN Envoy Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad held the meeting with the government delegation in Kuwait to try to overcome the difficulties that have appeared in the talks in order to restart negotiations. Ould Shaikh Ahmad was also expected to meet the Al Houthi delegation.

The meetings came a day after parties on both sides of the conflict in Yemen met Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who also urged both sides to continue talks.

Ould Shaikh Ahmad however took to Twitter in mild criticism of the two sides.

“A comprehensive peace agreement needs to be a Yemeni-Yemeni accord. Achieving it will be dependent on the commitment of the two delegations,” he said. “Delegations must work constructively in meetings and working groups to achieve progress on political, security issues [and] prisoners and detainees”.

He also went to to tell the delegations to “take responsibility”: “We are being flexible with the delegations to help them reach a political agreement but they must assume the responsibility in front of them”.

The envoy also said on Twitter on Wednesday that there were questions being raised about “guarantees” and that he was working on it, stressing that all issues should be on the negotiating table.