UN envoy holds talks with Yemeni president in Riyadh
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen, arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday in hopes of reviving stalled Yemen peace talks, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
While in the Saudi capital, Ould Cheikh Ahmed met Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi -- who is temporarily residing in Riyadh -- to discuss “prospects for achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace” in Yemen, according to Yemen’s official SABA news agency.
At the meeting, Hadi reportedly stressed his government’s desire to reach a final settlement in line with “previously agreed-upon terms of reference”, including UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
He also reportedly criticized what he described as the “intransigence” of Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia and allied forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, both of whom he accused of “rejecting calls for peace”.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed, for his part, reportedly said at the meeting that “the international community supports a just peace and well understands the importance of constitutional legitimacy” -- referring to Hadi’s status as Yemen’s internationally-recognized leader.
On Wednesday, the UN envoy began a tour of the region that first brought him to Oman and Jordan.
From Riyadh, he is next expected to travel to Sanaa -- the final leg of his tour -- where he is slated to meet with a delegation of Houthi and pro-Saleh officials.
While in Sanaa, the UN envoy is also expected to unveil a plan for western Yemen’s strategic Al-Hudaydah Port.
The plan reportedly calls for a Houthi withdrawal from the port -- which would then be ceded to a “neutral third party” -- in exchange for which a Saudi-led Arab coalition would halt military activities along Yemen’s west coast.
Impoverished Yemen has remained in the throes of a bloody civil war since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa, forcing Hadi and his government to flee the capital.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Hadi’s embattled government.
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