Riyadh, Dammam-Diplomats and political analysts have agreed that political dialogue between the warring parties in Yemen was a crucial step to end the ongoing crisis and alleviate people’s sufferings.
The international community should also deploy further efforts to encourage the peace process and restore Yemen’s legitimacy, according to several analysts and politicians who were interviewed by Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Observers said that Houthi rebels’ announcement to form a political council to manage the country’s affairs has revealed their true intentions to provoke the legitimate government, adding that the latter has insisted on maintaining peace negotiations.
Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah Al-Muallimi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the U.N. should play a central role to re-launch the Yemeni talks and achieve the aspired peace. Al-Muallimi said he hoped the U.N. would intensify its efforts by encouraging the group of 18 states sponsoring the peace talks in Kuwait to work towards the success of negotiations.
Peace negotiations held in Kuwait to resolve the crisis in Yemen ended abruptly last Friday, as Houthi rebels and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced the establishment of a political council to run the country’s affairs.
On Sunday, Yemen’s government said it has accepted a peace deal proposed by the U.N. that calls on Houthi rebels – who control large swaths of the country – to concede power after more than 14 months of war. The announcement came on after a high-level meeting in Riyadh chaired by Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the AFP news agency said.
In a phone interview with Asharq al-Awsat, Yemeni Minister of Local Administration Abdul Raqeeb Fatah said that the legitimate government was committed to peaceful dialogue, despite the recent coup announced by the rebels.
“Based on the directives of Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the legitimate government, we believe that dialogue and a peaceful solution remain our principal choice, despite the armed rebels’ continued intransigence,” the Yemeni minister said.
He added that the Yemeni government’s delegation to Kuwait was taking the negotiations very seriously as the group has responded to international calls to continue the talks. In this context, Fatah stressed that the international community should exert more pressure on the armed militias and ousted President Saleh to impose a peaceful solution.
Fatah noted that a meeting which was supposed to be held on Sunday in Kuwait was adjourned until Monday due to some important arrangements and to the rebels’ reluctance to forge an agreement with the legitimate government and to sign U.N. papers brought forward by U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. He added that the ball was now in the rebels’ court, adding that the Houthis were attempting to impose their political agenda through the use of arms.
The Yemeni minister stressed his government’s keenness on holding negotiations on Monday on the bases of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, the outcome of national dialogue and the implementation mechanisms of the GCC Initiative.
He noted that war was no longer an option to the legitimate government, saying: “Today, people are suffering from this catastrophe and crisis; there is a severe shortage in humanitarian assistance, in terms of medicine and food supply.”
“Consequently, we will not abandon any opportunity to establish peace in Yemen and end people’s sufferings,” he added.
Commenting on Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s role in the ongoing peace process, Fatah said that the international envoy has done everything he could to save the political negotiations, but he was met with the rebels’ intransigence and their insistence to violate Arab and international resolutions in this regard.
In the same context, former Kuwaiti minister Saad bin Tefla said that the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia was now focused on achieving reconciliation between the different Yemeni factions. He added that the Yemeni people’s sufferings would not end with the continued Iranian interference in the country’s affairs.