Air strikes hit Yemen despite peace talks

Air strikes hit Yemen despite peace talks
Saudi-led air strikes hit targets throughout Yemen on Wednesday, killing at least 31, as peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the war enter their second day.
2 min read
17 June, 2015
The delegation from Sanaa arrived a day late (AFP).
As attempts to find a solution to Yemen's conflict continued in Geneva on Wednesday, both sides continued to fight, with a reported airstrike from a Saudi-led coalition plane hitting a convoy of civilians fleeing the fighting in southern Yemen, killing 31.

Medical officials to AP that the attack took place early on Wednesday, in the northern outskirts of the southern port city of Aden, which has seen months of intense fighting as the Houthi rebels, along with allied army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, try to take the city, which has been defended by local resistance units.

The officials say that those killed were failies carrying food and personal belongings, fleeing north in a convoy of vehicles, including a bus carrying 16 passengers. The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthi-Saleh forces on March 26, after the pro-Iranian Houthis deposed Yemen's government and forced president Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

UN-brokered talks with the various sides began in Geneva on Monday, but the delegation representing political forces in Sanaa, largely made up of the Houthis and pro-Saleh figures, did not arrive until Tuesday, with some members accusing the Saudis of deliberately making it difficult for them to travel.

The two sides are not talking to each other directly, forcing the UN to host them in separate rooms, and their positions appear to be far apart from each other.

The Sanaa delegation insist that they will only negotiate with the Saudis, whereas the Hadi government has said that it will only discuss a Security Council resolution that specifies that the Houthis should withdraw from all seized territory.

Meanwhile, in al-Qaeda-controlled Mukalla, the capital of the southern Hadhramaut province, two men have been killed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), accused of being spies on behalf of the US and Saudi Arabia.

The two men, both of Saudi nationality, were killed in public a day after AQAP announced the death of their leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi, in a drone attack, according to an al-Araby al-Jadeed reporter in the city.