Yemen truce offer rejected by government

Yemen truce offer rejected by government
A Yemen ceasefire announced by John Kerry has been dismissed by Yemeni government officials, threatening to bring a rushed diplomatic mission by the US secretary of state to a close.
2 min read
15 November, 2016
More than 7,000 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015 [Getty]

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that while Yemeni rebels were ready to observe a ceasefire this week the government has swiftly dismissed the plan.

Houthi rebels initially agreed to a "cessation of hostilities beginning on November 17, provided the other party implements the same commitment", said Kerry.

Speaking from Abu Dhabi following talks with Houthi negotiators in Oman the day before, it appears his mission to bring the two sides together had not been completely successful.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE which lead the anti-Houthi Arab coalition were first positive about the move. "They believe it makes sense," Kerry said.

But Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government said it was not aware of any new peace initiative.

"The government of Yemen is not aware of the statements made by Mr. Kerry and does not consider itself committed to them," said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi.

Remarks attributed to Kerry "are a bid to derail peace efforts and a bid to reach an agreements with the Houthis without the government," he said.

The Saudi-led coalition began intervening in Yemen in March 2015, after the rebels seized Sanaa and swathes of the country forcing the government to seek exile in Riyadh.

More than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded in Yemen since then, and the UN says millions are in need of food aid.

Another 21 million people urgently need health services, according to the United Nations.

Six attempts to clinch a ceasefire in Yemen have foundered, including a three-day October truce that fell apart as soon as it went into force to allow aid deliveries to millions homeless and hungry.