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Yemen FM: Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s Intentions are ‘Good’ but ‘Insufficient’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi speaks to the media after the Yemen peace talks in Switzerland in Bern, Dec. 20, 2015. Reuters photo

London– The Yemeni government said that recent comments made by the UN envoy to Yemen on the truce and the upcoming negotiations were “good intentions”, calling on the envoy to convince the rebels to meet their previous commitments.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Yemeni Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Abdul Malik Al-Mekhlafi said that Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s statements “reflect good intentions,” noting however that progress could not be achieved only with intentions.

He underlined in this regard that Houthi insurgents and supporters of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh should accept the peace process and acknowledge the three pillars of negotiations, including the agreed ceasefire.

“We are always seeking to establish peace and to end this war and the people’s sufferings,” Al-Makhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat during a phone conversation.

“We have responded to all endeavors and intentions in this regard,” he added, calling on the international envoy to deploy more efforts to push the rebels to meet their commitments.

On Wednesday, Ould Cheikh Ahmed expressed his hope for a new round of peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties before Ramadan month.

The envoy told AFP that currently, things were at the preliminary stage, adding that time was a real constraint and he aimed to finish “all of this before Ramadan, or the end of May.”

The envoy added that negotiations were underway to stave off a feared military attack on the vital Red Sea port of Hodeida, in what he hoped would be the first step towards a ceasefire. He explained that prevention of an attack on Hodeida could allow “a real cessation of hostilities and to go back to the talks.”