Yemen’s Geneva talks fall apart after Houthi no-show

UN-backed talks between Yemen’s warring parties ended before properly getting off the ground, with the UN envoy acknowledging that it had not been possible to convince the rebels to come to Geneva.

“We didn’t manage to get… the [Houthi] delegation from Sanaa to come here… We just didn’t make it,” Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva on Saturday.

He said it was “too early to say when next round of consultations will take place”.

Yemeni government representatives who had flown to Geneva to take part in the long-awaited UN-sponsored peace talks said they would return home on Saturday after the rebels failed to show up.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the government representative said the delegation had decided to return home after the talks were put on hold for three days.

The Houthi rebel delegation had declined to attend until the United Nations met several demands including providing guarantees it would be able to return to the Yemeni capital Sanaa afterwards.

Yemen’s foreign minister accused the Houthi movement of “trying to sabotage the negotiations”, adding that Griffiths had not been firm enough with them.

“We want the UN to be firmer in bringing the other party to the negotiations”, Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told a press conference before leaving the Swiss city.

Griffiths said earlier that the Houthi no-show did not represent a “fundamental blockage in the process” and that he would meet soon with their representatives in Sanaa and in Muscat, Oman.

More soon…

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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