Yemen's exiled president backs out of talks with rebels

Yemen's exiled president backs out of talks with rebels
2 min read
13 September, 2015
Yemen's internationally recognised president will not participate in UN-brokered talks later this week with Houthi rebels who control the capital and much of the country's north, his office said Sunday.

Yemen's exiled government said on Sunday it would no longer attend UN-mediated peace talks with the rebels.

The statement said there would be no talks with the rebels, known as Houthis, unless they accept a UN resolution that obliges them to withdraw from areas they seized and surrender weapons taken from state institutions.  

"(The government) confirmed it would not take part in any meeting until the coup militia recognise international resolution 2216 and accepts to implement it unconditionally," the official state news agency Saba said.

Hailing the now-scuppered talks on Friday, the UN Security Council had urged the parties to refrain from preconditions and "unilateral actions".  

Peace talks in June failed to end the fighting, which has brought the country to the brink of famine, killed more than 4,500 people and led to a security vacuum that has strengthened Al Qaeda's Yemen branch.

On Saturday night, a suspected US drone strike killed at least five alleged Qaeda fighters gathered inside a military base outside the eastern coastal city of Mukalla, local security officials said. The group has partly controlled Mukalla since the army withdrew from the area in April.

A mid-level commander in the organisation, Othman al-Sanaani, was killed in the strike, the sources said. 

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has carried out attacks against the Yemeni state for years of bomb, plotted to blow up US bound airliners and claimed responsibility for a January attack in Paris on a French magazine that killed 12 people.  

A mainly Gulf Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict, mounting hundreds of air strikes on the Houthis and backing ground forces they hope will force the group accept an April UN Security Council resolution calling on them to recognize Hadi and quit Yemen's main cities.