Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Kerry Announces ‘Deal’ with Yemen Rebels, Al-Mekhlafi Calls it Propaganda Initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A tank used by pro-government tribal fighters is seen on a street in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub

Jeddah, Riyadh, Aden-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry surprised observers on Tuesday by announcing a bilateral agreement with Yemen’s rebels to stop the fighting and form a national unity government by the end of this year.

However, the internationally recognized Yemeni government quickly rejected the move, and announced that it was never informed about the agreement.

Speaking after talks in Oman, Kerry said he had presented Houthi delegates with a document outlining a ceasefire and a peace deal.

He said he had agreed with Houthis and their ally former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a truce from Thursday.

“And thus far the Emiratis and the Saudis, they have both agreed to try to move forward with this,” he stated.

But the Yemeni government denied it was informed about Kerry’s announcement. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that the “Yemeni government was quick to ask for clarifications from the U.S. government as soon as Kerry announced the agreement.”

The foreign Minister asserted that his government was not invited to participate in any agreement, and that Kerry’s announcement had not been coordinated with his government.

“Maybe there is a mistake in Kerry’s statements, and therefore, what he announced could be mere propaganda. And the government does not wish to transform the Yemeni issue and the sacrifices of its people into a media bubble, without producing a real peace,” Mekhlafi said.

He added that the outgoing U.S. administration is incapable of providing any guarantees to any party.

Also, Abdulaziz Al-Meflahi, advisor to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Kerry’s announcement is irresponsible and is rather a kind of hallucination.”

Al-Meflahi added that the Yemeni government supports a permanent peace in line with the three references and U.N. Resolution 2216.

Kerry is currently visiting the Omani capital Muscat for talks with Houthis after U.N. envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed failed to reach a solution between the warring parties.

Last month, the U.N. envoy presented a peace roadmap rejected by the Yemeni government as it granted the coup a political advantage.

The plan calls for the appointment of a new vice president and the formation of a national unity government that will oversee a transition leading to elections.