Houthi representatives head to Kuwait for Yemen peace talks

Houthi representatives head to Kuwait for Yemen peace talks
Yemen's rebel factions agree to join Yemen peace talks in Kuwait on Thursday following a four-day delay sparked by mutual ceasefire violations in the war-torn country.
2 min read
20 April, 2016
Houthi rebels and their allies agreed to join the delayed peace talks in Kuwait [Getty]
Yemen's Houthi rebels and their allies have agreed to join the delayed peace talks in Kuwait, after receiving assurances that pro-government forces will abide by the ceasefire.

The UN-brokered talks were set to kick off in Kuwait on Monday, but were delayed after the rebels refused to attend citing Saudi violations of the ceasefire, which came into effect on 11 April.

In a statement issued late on Tuesday, senior Houthi leader Mahdi al-Mashat confirmed that assurances were given by the UN, Kuwait and Oman to end ceasefire violations, after Saudi-led airstrikes shelled rebel held areas and pro-government forces clashed with rebels this week.

"We reserve the right to suspend our participation if the promises are not kept," said Mashat, who will head the Houthi delegation to Kuwait. "The forces of aggression then will have to assume full responsibility for the consequences of their failure to honour their commitments."

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's government and the rebels to work with his envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, "so that talks can start without further delay".

Kuwait's information ministry announced that the talks, which form the most important attempt yet to resolve Yemen's civil war, will open on Thursday.

Houthi representations will leave for Kuwait later on Wednesday.

A representative of the rebel-allied General People's Congress [GPC] party, Yasser Aalawadi, said his delegation will travel to Kuwait on Thursday.

The GPC is led by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled the country for 33 years until 2012, and who has recently joined forces with the Houthis.

The rebels demand the lifting of UN sanctions against Saleh and Houthi leaders, Yemeni sources close to the talks said.

Meanwhile, Yemen's internationally recognised government demands the Houthi withdraw from cities captured and to surrender their weapons.

Agencies contributed to this report.