UN's Yemen envoy announces one-month recess for peace talks

AP News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2016 10:43 AM
UN's Yemen envoy announces one-month recess for peace talks

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The U.N. envoy to Yemen announced Saturday that peace talks to end the country's ruinous civil war would go into a one-month recess.

The widely expected announcement came in a statement issued Saturday by the envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The talks, held in Kuwait, have failed to make any tangible headway. No venue was announced for the talks when they resume.

"The biggest obstacle we faced is the lack of trust between both parties, despite our efforts," said the envoy. "We are leaving Kuwait today, but the peace talks will go on. I want to reiterate that we are on the right path."

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who heads the internationally recognized government, demands implementation of a U.N. security council resolution stipulating the withdrawal from all cities of the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies. The Houthis demand a share of power in any new government.

The U.N. declared a ceasefire in Yemen in April, but both sides have repeatedly breached the truce.

The war in Yemen pits Hadi's loyalist troops and militias against the Iranian-backed Houthis and their allies, including followers of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hadi's side is backed by a Saudi-led, mostly Arab coalition.

Saturday's announcement by the U.N. envoy came just hours after the Houthis and Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, named top Houthi official Saleh Samad as the first president of a joint body to rule Yemen, where Hadi loyalists control most of the south while the rebels and their allies control much of the north, including the capital Sanaa which they overran in September 2014.

The presidency of the body, the Supreme Political Council, would alternate between the two sides.

The U.N. envoy condemned the creation of the body when its creation was first announced late last month. "Announcing a unilateral governing arrangement is not in line with the peace process and endangers substantial progress made in Kuwait," he said in posts on his official Twitter account.

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Associated Press writer Hussain al-Qatari in Kuwait City contributed to this report.