Yemen peace talks end in failure, but new round set
Kuwait City (AFP)
The UN special envoy for Yemen announced the end of peace talks Saturday without any major breakthrough, but also said a new round of negotiations would begin after one month.
"We will be leaving Kuwait today but the Yemeni peace talks are continuing," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told a press conference.
He said he will be holding bilateral consultations with the two delegations in the coming few weeks to work out details of a peace plan.
He also said that the two sides have committed to resume "direct talks within a month at a venue to be agreed upon".
Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Kuwait remains a possible location to host the next round.
"We have guarantees and commitments from the two sides that they are ready to return to the negotiating table," he said.
Although the talks that began April 21 made no headway, Ould Cheikh Ahmed refused to call the process a failure.
"In fact, we have not failed. We believe the Kuwait talks made great progress," he said without elaborating.
The end of the talks came just a few hours after Yemen's rebel Shiite Huthis and forces loyal to their ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, appointed a council to govern Yemen.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed condemned the move.
"We condemn any unilateral steps. These do not serve the Yemeni people or the peace process," he said when asked to comment about the rebel council.
The rebels announced its creation on July 28, shortly before rejecting a UN peace plan because it did not meet their key demand for a unity government.
That condition amounts to an explicit call for the removal of the internationally recognised president, Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
The Iran-backed Huthis overran the capital in late 2014 before moving into other parts of Yemen, prompting a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in March last year.
The United Nations says that more than 6,400 people have been killed in the Arabian Peninsula country since then, mostly civilians.
The fighting has also driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80 percent of the population needing humanitarian aid.
© 2016 AFP