Yemen government will only discuss rebels' retreat
Yemen's exiled president reiterated Tuesday that his government will only discuss with rebels at this week's UN-sponsored peace talks a Security Council resolution ordering their withdrawal from seized territory.
Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels, who have for months been fighting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's supporters, arrived Tuesday in Geneva for the talks, to which Hadi has also sent representatives.
In the Saudi city of Jeddah, the president told an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that "our delegation in Geneva will only discuss the terms of applying (Resolution) 2216."
The meeting was attended by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, whose predominantly Shi’ite country is accused of backing the rebels. A member of the rebel team also placed restrictions on the talks, ruling out dialogue "with those who have no legitimacy," a reference to the government, and demanded talks with Saudi Arabia.
On March 26, a Saudi-led coalition began bombing the rebels and their allies as Hadi fled to Riyadh. Late last year the Houthis seized control of Yemen's capital before advancing on other parts of the country.
In addition to the territorial demands, the April Security Council resolution reaffirmed the legitimacy of Yemen's government, asked the Houthis to give up seized weapons and imposed an arms embargo and sanctions on them. It asked all parties, particularly the Houthis, to adhere to measures including the outcome of a previously held "national dialogue" tasked with drawing up a new constitution.
The OIC had summoned the foreign ministers of its 57 member states to "consider the situation in Yemen and ways to ensure the return of security and stability there."