Yemen Parties Agree on Need for Ceasefire

Yemen Parties Agree on Need for CeasefireYemen Parties Agree on Need for Ceasefire

Yemen’s warring parties agreed at UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva on the need for a ceasefire but the details remain under discussion, a delegate to the discussions said late on Tuesday.

Ghaleb al-Mutlak, from the south Yemeni separatist Herak movement, said the proposed ceasefire would run for one month and also halt Saudi-led bombings on Houthis forces and units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“We’re all in agreement about the need for the ceasefire, but we’re still discussing details,” Mutlak told reporters after Houthi envoys held their first talks with Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN special envoy to Yemen.

“It seems that there is a readiness on behalf of all parties … but the details of this agreement are under discussion.”

Ahmed began shuttle diplomacy in Geneva trying to bridge differences between various political factions. But they still refused to sit at the same table and spelled out clashing agendas.

The UN envoy said the attendance of delegates from all sides in the drawn-out conflict was a “real opportunity that must not be wasted.”

 Saudi Sabotage

Houthis on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of trying to sabotage peace talks and said fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi is trying to impose his own agenda on the UN.

Houthi delegates arrived a day late in Geneva on Tuesday for the UN-backed talks after being stranded in Djibouti, a delay they blamed on Riyadh. Houthis said Saudi Arabia had asked Egypt and Sudan to close their airspace to the chartered plane.

“It was Saudi Arabia which asked its allies” to take the action with the aim of “torpedoing the negotiations”, Adel Shujah, a member of the Houthis, said after arriving in Geneva.

Yemen’s conflict escalated in late March when a Saudi-led Arab alliance began airstrikes on the poor Arab country to restore Hadi to power.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led air campaign hit positions throughout Yemen on Wednesday and expanded into one western province for the first time, despite peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending almost three months of fighting.

The bombings hit the capital, Sanaa, and also targeted Yemen’s central desert and the mountainous province of Mahweet, one of the last provinces in Yemen not to be bombed.