A new round of Yemen’s UN-sponsored peace talks concluded yesterday in a Swiss town with poor results. Whilst the UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed expressed cautious optimism and announced an agreement between both parties to resume negotiations next month in an undecided location (sources suggested that it would be in an African capital), the Yemeni Minister of Information and Mass Media Dr Mohamed Abdul Majeed Qubaty told Asharq Al-Awsat that the rebels violated UN approved confidence building measures which included the release of the kidnapped Minister of Defence Major-General Mahmoud al-Subaihi and four other officials. Qubaty said that the consultations in Switzerland renewed emphasis on the link between the rebels and Tehran, that is to say “Iranian advisers were in control of the decisions” made by the delegation formed of Houthis and those loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and that members of the delegation were refusing a settlement on any matter before communicating with the advisers.
Immediately after the end of talks, the Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi who is the head of the government delegation to the consultations, said that the ceasefire would be extended for an additional seven days starting from this evening.
Sources close to the talks told Asharq Al-Awsat that the most important thing that the consultations achieved during this round was a very limited “breakthrough” on the humanitarian side, in particular with regards to bringing in convoys of humanitarian aid to the governorate of Taiz. However, “confidence building measures” had failed.
Coinciding with the conclusion of this round of talks on Yemen, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz who is also Minister of Defence and Second Deputy Prime Minister, held talks in Riyadh yesterday with the Chief of Yemen’s General Staff Major- General Mohammad Ali Al-Maqdashi which touched upon Yemeni developments.
Meanwhile, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz offered his condolences and sympathy to the family of Colonel Abdullah bin Mohammed Alsuhyaan who was killed in service whilst overseeing the “Restoring hope” for Yemen operation.