SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s government delegation on Saturday quit talks in Kuwait with Shiite Houthi rebels, having agreed to resume them earlier this month.
Officials with Yemen’s internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told The Associated Press they were considering proposals to reconvene the talks, which have failed to bridge the gap with the rebels, in Oman. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
Hadi’s exiled government is backed by a U.S. assisted Saudi-led military campaign against the Shiite rebels, who overran the Yemeni capital in late 2014. The war has killed some 9,000 people.
Hadi’s negotiators are demanding the implementation of a U.N. Security Council resolution which stipulates the withdrawal of militias from all cities. The Houthis want the Saudi-led offensives to stop first, and also a share of power in a transitional government.
The U.N.’s special envoy to the talks, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, took to social media to say he had met with both delegations and suggested a one-week extension to the talks and a framework for a solution. But as the sun went down, neither side appeared to have moved.
On Thursday, the rebels announced a formal alliance with the country’s ousted president and his former ruling party by setting up a new political council to rule the country, a step described by the United Nations envoy to Yemen as jeopardizing peace talks in Kuwait.
International ambassadors stationed in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, said they were concerned by the new alliance, calling it in a statement “not consistent with commitments and good faith in pursuing a peaceful resolution under the auspices of the U.N.” The U.N. had urged all parties to engage positively and effectively in the Kuwait talks in order to reach a sustainable solution quickly.
Meanwhile, international rights groups have accused Saudi Arabia of causing severe shortages of fuel and medical supplies due to its blockade of Yemen, a charge the kingdom denies. The coalition it heads blames the Houthis for taking-over the supplies and mismanaging ports.
International medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders has highlighted the shortages, warning that thousands of Yemeni dialysis patients face life-threatening risks since their treatment centers are struggling with supplies amid import restrictions that have pushed them to a “breaking point.”