Yemen peace talks to resume amid 'mutual ceasefire violations'

Yemen peace talks to resume amid 'mutual ceasefire violations'
Two days ahead of peace talks, both sides of the Yemen conflict have exchanged accusations of violating a shaky ceasefire and attempting to thwart the transition to peace.
3 min read
16 April, 2016
Yemen sees peace talks resuming on Monday amid the ceasefire violations [Getty]

The Yemeni government and rebels have accused each other of committing major violations against a week-old ceasefire and and of trying to hamper peace talks ahead of a concerted United Nations effort aimed at ending nearly 13 months of war.

Both sides of the conflict have claimed numerous breaches to the ceasefire, which came into effect on Sunday at midnight to pave the way for the talks in Kuwait.

The Yemeni government's UN ambassador, Khalid al-Yamani, said in a statement that there have been many reports that the Houthi rebels and their allies have continued attacks in the southwest city of Taiz, adding that "the coup militias are against a transition to peace."

Yamani also said that Iran had sent three arms shipments to the Houthis at the end of last month and in February.

In return, the rebels accused the government of failing to take the ceasefire seriously and targeting ceasefire monitors with air raids in Jawf in the north, according to a statement obtained by The New Arab on Saturday.

"The war is still in full effect in most areas with air raids continuing," the statement read.

The Yemeni UN ambassador said Iran had sent three arms shipments to the Houthis at the end of last month and in February.

On Thursday, at least 35 pro-government fighters were killed in clashes with rebels over three days near the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.

Yemen sees peace talks resuming on Monday, however, with the accusations of ceasefire violations from both sides.

Previous attempts have failed to stop the fighting which has killed thousands of people, forced almost 2.8 million from their homes and raised regional tensions. The ceasefire does not apply to Islamic militant groups, which have exploited the chaos to strengthen their hold in the south.

The coalition led by Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia early this week described ceasefire violations as "minor". The coalition began air strikes in March last year to support Yemen's government.

Yemen has never been so close to peace

Briefing the Security Council Friday ahead of the talks, UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has conducted months of shuttle diplomacy, said Yemen has "never been so close to peace".

The government and the rebels and their allies last sat down to talk in Geneva in December, but six days of negotiations ended with no major breakthrough.

The Saudi-led coalition - which is not a party to the Kuwait talks - intervened after the Houthis overran Sanaa in September 2014 and later advanced to other regions.

Chaos and misery have ruled the Arabian Peninsula country since.