Yemen’s Houthis demand ‘written solution’ before talks

– Two earlier rounds of UN-backed peace talks between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels failed to achieve any breakthroughs
– Yemen’s Shia Houthi group Tuesday said it wanted to see a “proposed solution in writing” before resuming UN-brokered peace talks with the Yemeni government, according to Anadolu Agency.In a statement, Houthi negotiators called on the UN to present a “written proposal” for ending Yemen’s ongoing crisis.

The proposal, they said, “should take into account all aspects of the conflict, including a halt to aggression, lifting the siege [on Houthi-held parts of the country] and an agreement regarding the presidency”.

In Houthi discourse, the term “aggression” refers to a Saudi-led air campaign that began last year aimed at restoring President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN’s envoy for Yemen, is expected to arrive in Oman on Wednesday for talks with Houthi negotiators, with whom he will discuss possible means of resuming peace talks.

In a related development Tuesday, pro-government forces announced the capture of a “strategic site” from the Houthis in Yemen’s Nahem directorate east of capital Sanaa.

In a statement, pro-government forces claimed to have seized control of the Bahra Mountain region following clashes with Houthi fighters and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen has been ravaged by civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran Sanaa and forced Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

Two subsequent rounds of UN-brokered talks between government and Houthi negotiators failed to achieve any tangible breakthroughs.

Last week, the Houthis announced the formation of a government in Sanaa in a move that critics say is aimed at derailing any resumption of peace talks.

The Yemeni government, for its part, refuses to discuss the notion of a unity government before the Houthis withdraw from cities now under their control and hand over their arms.