Yemen peace talks likely to be postponed

Sanaa, Jan 10 (IANS) Yemen’s Saudi-backed government announced on Saturday that the next round of peace talks between the warring sides would most probably be postponed to the end of January.

“We are planning to postpone the next round of the UN-sponsored consultations to the end of this month,” a government spokesman said, referring to the talks previously scheduled for January 14, Xinhua reported.

“The Shia Houthi group and their allies didn’t abide by the trust building points including the release of high-ranking political prisoners and opening safe roads to the besieged areas in Taiz,” the spokesman added.

On Friday night, the defiant former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, vowed to “continue fighting even with the Yemeni dagger and AK47, and to expel the Saudi-led coalition forces and their allies from Yemeni territories”.

Saleh said that “we will resume talks only if the naval blockade is lifted and foreign troops retreat from Yemen”.

The impoverished Arab country was plunged into violence in September 2014 when the Shia Houthi group invaded the country’s capital Sanaa, driving President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

The conflict soon turned into an all-out civil war between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels backed by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. A Saudi-led Arab coalition later intervened vowing to restore Hadi’s legitimacy.

The almost daily air raids by the Saudi-led alliance and the fighting on the ground have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and forced many to flee their homes.

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