Yemeni government uncompromising ahead of Geneva talks

Yemeni government uncompromising ahead of Geneva talks
UN-sponsored talks are planned for the weekend, but President Hadi says there will be no negotiating over Houthi withdrawal from seized territory.
2 min read
08 June, 2015
Hadi is in exile in Riyadh (Getty)

Yemen's government-in-exile has struck an increasingly uncompromising tone ahead of planned UN-sponsored weekend talks in Geneva between them and their opponents in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, the Houthi movement and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Speaking to Arab television channel al-Arabiya, Yemen's president, Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, said that the talks would not be negotiations.

“There will be no negotiations,” Hadi said, speaking from his base in Riyadh. “It will be just a discussion about how to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2216. We will have a consultation.”

This was echoed by Hadi's vice, Khaled Bahah, who also serves as the prime minister, who maintained that the only goal of the talks was to implement UN Security Council resolution 2216, which calls upon the Houthis and Saleh to withdraw from the territory they have taken since the government was forced to flee in February.

A Saudi-led coalition began an airstrike campaign in March, and over 2000 people have died in the fighting that has raged across the country.

Hadi and Bahah's comments will be a blow to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, whose spokesman said that the talks would be held “without preconditions in the interest of all Yemeni people”, and aimed at securing a ceasefire, agreeing on a withdrawal plan for the Houthis and bringing in desparately needed humanitarian aid into the country.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition continued its airstrikes, hitting military positions north of Sanaa overnight.

On the ground, fighting in Aden over the last 24 hours left nine people dead, including three civilians, according to medical officials.

Three civilians were killed in Taiz, in the centre of the country, after mortar rounds were fired by the Houthi-Saleh forces.

Nine Houthi fighters were also killed in the city by local anti-Houthi forces.