Houthis set deadline after spurning UN-backed peace deal

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Kuwait City, Aug 1 (IANS/AKI) Yemen’s internationally recognised government has given Shia Houthi militias until Sunday to sign a UN-brokered plan to end the country’s devastating civil war after the Houthis rejected the plan at peace talks in Kuwait.

“If they want peace, they have to sign the peace deal and we were patient,” Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi, who is also Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister, told reporters on Monday.

Mekhlafi’s deadline came after Yemen government delegates decided to leave Kuwait on Monday when the Houthi side spurned the UN peace proposals saying they did not create “the general consensus for an accord,” according to a statement cited by the Savage news agency.

Houthi rebels captured Sanaa in September 2014 and expanded their control to other parts of Yemen, advancing on Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s temporary headquarters in the the southern city of Aden and forcing him to flee to Saudi Arabia.

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The Iran-backed Houthis and the General People’s Congress party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday formed a ‘supreme council’ to run war-wracked Yemen, the Houthi-run state news agency sabanews.net said, citing a statement.

The move was condemned by Mekhlafi as a “new coup” and a blow to the stalled UN-backed peace talks.

A Saudi-led military coalition began airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in March 2015. A ceasefire accord in April this year between the Houthis and pro-Hadi forces and the subsequent peace talks have failed to end the conflict.

The fighting has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million in the Arabian Peninsula state amid famine and a humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.



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