Yemen govt leaves UN peace talks in Kuwait

– Sources close to the Houthis said that the Shia group has refused to sign the UN-proposed peace plan

Yemeni government negotiators have left peace talks in Kuwait after the Houthis refused to sign a UN-proposed peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, according to Anadolu Agency.

“The delegation decided to leave Kuwait after signing the UN peace plan,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malek al-Mekhlafi told reporters on Monday.

He said the putchists “were trying to legitimize their coup” — in reference to the Houthis and their allies, who overran capital Sanaa and other provinces in late 2014.

“It’s futile to speak about amending the agreement that we have signed,” the top diplomat said.

On Sunday, the Yemeni government signed a UN-proposed peace plan aimed to end the armed conflict with the Houthis in Yemen.

According to the Yemeni government, the draft calls for the handover of arms and the withdrawal of militias from capital Sanaa, Taiz and Al-Hudaydah in central and western Yemen as a “preparatory step”.

Sources close to the Houthis said that the Shia group has refused to sign the proposed peace plan.

“We have made a lot of concessions during the negotiations,” al-Mekhlafi said. “The international community now considers the handover of weapons and withdrawal of militias as a priority; otherwise they [Houthis] will get nothing from us or the world,” he said.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and allied forces of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh overran Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-Hadi forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south — including provisional capital Aden — but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In April of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.