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Houthis Hamper Chinese Mediation to Hold Talks with Ould Cheikh - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London- Houthis rejected Beijing’s efforts to resume talks with UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad, Yemeni officials revealed on Friday.

“The efforts launched by some world powers to restart talks between Houthis and Ould Chiekh are currently facing some challenges. We are waiting that those efforts bear fruits ahead of completing all the elements of a solution,” Rajeh Badi, Yemeni government spokesman told Asharq Al-Awsat Friday in a telephone interview.

For his part, Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdel-Malak Al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Chinese ambassador to Yemen Tian Chi exerted efforts to plan meetings between Ould Cheikh and Houthis. However, he said, those efforts were lately disrupted by the militants, who rejected the Chinese mediation.

Meanwhile, Yemeni media reports said that Houthis refused to meet with the UN envoy in Sana’a, adding that Ould Cheikh spent a few days in Oman before heading to Riyadh, where he stayed for another three days ahead of traveling to his UN office in Jordan without visiting Sana’a.

However, Ould Cheikh told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday: “This information is inaccurate. I never planned to visit Sana’a lately.”

Meanwhile, Mekhlafi said that a UN roadmap aiming to solve the crisis in the Red Sea port of Hodeidah lists the need to hand over the area to a third party including “Yemeni soldiers who are not loyal to the coup.”

Asked whether those soldiers were linked to the State, Mekhlafi said: “They support the state. Such an issue was approved by all parties during the UN-supported Yemeni peace talks in Kuwaiti, in addition to being the base for any military committee.”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat early this month, Ould Cheikh said “We do not ask the warring parties to hand over Hodeidah to the legitimate government, but only to place the port in the hands of a third party from the UN that could manage it.”