Yemen president at UN dismisses talks with Houthis

Yemen president at UN dismisses talks with Houthis
"Peace cannot be obtained by cajoling those gangsters as some member-states do," he said.

2 min read
27 September, 2018
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi (R) [Getty]

Yemen's president on Wednesday dismissed UN-led attempts to bring Houthi rebels to peace talks as "doomed to fail," telling the United Nations that a firm stance was needed to end the war.

Earlier this month, the Houthis failed to turn up at talks convened by a UN peace envoy in Geneva, leaving peace efforts in disarray as Yemen's humanitarian crisis worsens.

"All attempts at peace that are made with this group are doomed to fail," President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi told the UN General Assembly, describing the Houthis as "extremists who employ gangster-like tactics" and "create hate."

"Peace cannot be obtained by cajoling those gangsters as some member-states do," he said.

The United Nations invited Hadi's government and the Houthis to Geneva to re-start talks that broke down in 2016.

But the Iran-aligned Houthis refused to leave the capital Sanaa, which they hold, and put forward a series of last-minute demands for the evacuation of wounded and the release of prisoners.

Hadi said the international community must be "resolute" and stick to Security Council resolutions that call on the Houthis to withdraw from territory they have seized.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to restore Hadi's internationally recognized government to power and push back the Houthis.

The war has left nearly 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The United States, along with France and Britain, have supported the Saudi coalition in Yemen, but the western powers have expressed concern over the heavy toll on civilians.

The UN aid chief warned last week that relief agencies were losing the fight against famine in Yemen, where 3.5 million people may soon be added to the eight million Yemenis already facing starvation.

Renewed fighting near the key port city of Hodeida combined with a sharp drop in the value of Yemen's currency have worsened the humanitarian crisis.

Hodeida's port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen, the most impoverished country in the Arab world.