Cairo – New York – Riyadh – U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has presented a new roadmap towards the achievement of peace in the war-torn country, according to well-informed sources.
The sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on Tuesday that during the ongoing peace talks held in Kuwait, the international envoy has met with both Yemeni delegations to present his new proposals which could lead to a formal written agreement.
The sources added that the new roadmap focuses on the implementation of the ceasefire, the handover of arms and the withdrawal from area “A” within a pre-determined deadline, in addition to the release of all hostages and prisoners, including those whose names were included in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed also proposed the establishment of safe humanitarian channels to transport medicine and food to war-stricken regions and to transfer injured, sick persons and refugees to safer areas.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Khaled Al-Yemany said that the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait was the most important means to convey the Arab coalition’s commitment to resolve the situation in Yemen.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on Monday, Al-Yemany said that the rebellion in Yemen would end this year, but did not specify whether this would be achieved through a political solution or a military intervention.
The Yemeni official also said that the government went back on its decision to boycott the peace talks in Kuwait after it received assurances from Ould Cheikh Ahmed on the commitment to fully abide by UNSCR 2216.
He noted that his government was hopeful that Kuwait talks would reach some progress in rebuilding trust, stressing the need to implement the bases of the roadmap, including the implementation of ceasefire, the handover of arms and the withdrawal from occupied areas.
Al-Yemany said that Houthi rebels were still betting on divisions inside the international community and the Security Council over the crisis in Yemen and were hoping to receive international recognition and support to partake in the government. In this context, the Yemeni ambassador said that his government would maintain its efforts with the U.N. and Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, to restore legitimacy in Yemen and hamper the Iranian project in the region.
The Yemeni representative to the U.N. stressed the importance of abiding by international resolutions to end the war in Yemen. He noted that UNSCR 2216 should be the basis and framework for any peace negotiations, adding that such resolutions should not be ignored or overlooked by the concerned parties, in particular the U.N. envoy to Yemen.
He added that the full implementation of UNSCR 2216 would establish sustainable peace in Yemen and restore government’s legitimacy towards the building of a modern Yemeni democratic state.
Asked about Saudi Arabia’s role in resolving the Yemeni crisis, Al-Yemany said that the Gulf initiative, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has given a special role to Saudi Arabia as mediator in the Yemeni conflict. He announced that a meeting would be held soon in Riyadh under the King’s auspices to achieve long-lasting peace and restore Yemen’s glory in the Arabian Peninsula.
On whether foreign interference was behind the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, Al-Yemany agreed, saying that those who believe that Hezbollah’s specimen would be imposed on the government and that the Yemeni people would be hostages to the Iranian regime were totally wrong.
In this context, the Yemeni official said that Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s strategy of rapprochement with the Houthi rebels was useless, adding that the international envoy should focus instead on implementing UNSCR 2216.
Asked about the government’s vision on the post-war phase in Yemen, Al-Yemany said that the Yemeni leadership believes that the Houthis should be integrated in the country’s political life by becoming an active political party that rejects violence and uses political means to achieve its national goals.
The Yemeni official said that the ongoing Kuwait talks represent the most important phase in conveying the Arab coalition’s message of peace. He also praised Kuwait’s major role in peace negotiations, stressing the need to resolve the Yemeni crisis internally, within the borders of the Arabian Peninsula.