Details of new Yemen peace plan emerge

Under floated plan, Al Houthi militants withdraw from major cities and Hadi stays on as president

The internationally-recognised government of Yemen has hailed a new road map for Yemen peace which was recently presented to president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the port city of Aden.

Briefing the cabinet on the outcome of UN envoy to Yemen Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad’s visit to Aden, foreign minister Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi said on Wednesday the UN envoy floated constructive ideas aimed at setting the stage for a ceasefire and a new round of peace talks between Hadi’s government and Al Houthis and their ally the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The state-run Saba news agency quoted Al Mekhlafi as saying the ideas were “compatible” with three previous demands for peace talks in Yemen: UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) peace initiative and the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference.

An aide to Hadi did not immediately respond to a request from Gulf News to give more details about the plan, but local media reports say that the road map suggests Hadi remain a president with all his powers, Al Houthis pull out from cities under their control and disarm, and finally a comprehensive peace agreement after which a new consensual vice-president is appointed.

According to Aden Al Ghad news site, the warring factions would then form a unity government.

Despite praising the ideas, Abdul Aziz Al Mouflahi, an adviser to Hadi, told the Saudi Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper on Thursday that Hadi did not accept the offer until the rebel movement offers trust-building measures like releasing prisoners and pulling out of the cities before he agrees to join talks with them.

The Yemeni government has strongly opposed Ould Shaikh Ahmad’s previous peace plan where he proposed Hadi hand over all of his powers to a new vice-president in exchange for Al Houthis’ full withdrawal from major cities like Sana’a, Taiz and Hodeida.

Hadi angrily said the plan “rewarded” Al Houthis for overthrowing him two years ago.

A government official who took part in the latest faltered peace talks in Kuwait has cast doubt over the UN envoy’s ability to make a major breakthrough in the foreseeable future amid raging bloody clashes on all fronts.

“I do not think there will be serious peace talks before government forces score a major military victory along the western coast and liberate Taiz and Hodeida. These successes would force Al Houthis to the negotiating table,” the official told Gulf News on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters.