Yemen rebels yet to arrive in Geneva for UN talks: sources
Geneva: A team of Iran-backed Yemeni rebels had not yet arrived in Geneva for peace talks, due to start today, because their plane was delayed, UN and diplomatic sources said.
The delegation comprising members of the Ansarullah and their allies, loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, left Sanaa yesterday afternoon but were forced to have a long halt in Djibouti, the sources said.
Talks between the Huthi rebels and the government of exiled President President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi were supposed to start in Geneva early today in the presence of UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Their positions are so far apart that analysts feel any breakthrough is highly unlikely and the delegations will not even begin talks in the same room.
The UN’s peace envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said that today would see the start of “preliminary inclusive consultations” on the war that has claimed more than 2,500 lives and sparked a “catastrophic” humanitarian crisis.
Yemen has been wracked by conflict between the rebels and Hadi’s internationally recognised government.
The dissidents have seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa, forcing Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia in February.
Fearing an Iran-friendly regime on its south, Saudi Arabia has led a campaign of air strikes against the rebels since March 26 but has so far failed to force them from territory they have seized.
International powers are keen for a resolution to the conflict, fearing the growing power of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the jihadist network which has taken advantage of the chaos to seize territory.