Tuesday, June 30, 2015

UN envoy to Yemen trying to broker a peace deal with Houthi rebels


Aden - Ismail Ahmed, the UN envoy to Yemen, will travel to Kuwait on June 27 and then travel to Ryadh Saudi Arabia for a week's stay. Finally, he will move on to Sanaa, Yemen for another week to try and reach a preliminary peace deal to end the conflict.
For three months, the Saudis have led an extensive bombing campaign and blockade designed to restore president-in-exile Mansour Hadi to power. Although at one time Hadi resigned he later rescinded his resignation when he fled to Aden. He tried to set up a government there but was driven out and fled to Ryadh, Saudi Arabia. He has the support of the Saudis, and the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC),as well as the U.S. Over the three months of bombing and land campaign by loyalists, more than 2,8000 people have been killed and huge numbers displaced. The campaign has created a humanitarian disaster. More than 80 percent of Yemenis or more than 21 million people are estimated by the UN to need humanitarian assistance. The Saudi blockade makes it difficult for aid agencies to deliver aid, especially to Houthi controlled areas. The chaos has helped Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) to extend its territory and consolidate its power often in alliance with local Sunni tribes. Added to the chaos the Islamic State has launched several attacks.
Although talks sponsored by the UN in Geneva broke up with no agreement a week ago, there was a general desire for a cease fire, hence Ahmed's travels to where he can work out issues with representatives of the two sides. UN spokesperson, Ahmad Fawzi, said of Ahmed:“He intends to spend more time in the two capitals [Riyadh and Sana’a] to discuss the draft principles paper which was developed here in Geneva — as he said, ‘until we reach a preliminary agreement."
There are already talks in Oman between the Houthis and opponents from the Southern Movement who are defending Aden and other parts of the south. Some units allied with the Houthis did withdraw from parts of Aden and journeyed north to provide reinforcements in the capital and other areas. This perhaps might have been part of an agreement. However, a storage tank in Aden was hit and set on fire by Houthi artillery fire, indicating that the battle is still ongoing in the port. The Saudis bombed numerous sites across Yemen on Friday. At least 10 people were killed in an air raid in Jawf a northern province bordering Saudi Arabia. The capital Sanaa was also bombed. Hadi's foreign minister said that his government had no interest in organizing a new meeting in Geneva. He simply wants to implement the UN resolution that demands the Houthis withdraw from all the areas that they have occupied and lay down their arms. Many other parties who support Hadi may hope for at least a ceasefire and then further negotiations.

No comments: