Yemeni government leaves talks after agreeing to UN peace draft

The Yemeni government delegation left peace talks in Kuwait on Monday after informing the United Nations of its approval of the draft peace agreement brokered by the UN to solve the Yemeni conflict.

The agreement is aimed at ending a civil war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels and their allies, who control the capital Sana'a.

UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed said that the government delegation's departure from Kuwait was "not a departure from the peace talks."

The talks will continue until the parties agree on the next steps in the coming days, the UN envoy said. Ould Sheikh Ahmed said he would hold "intensive meetings" with the Houthi delegation in the meantime.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who leads the government's team at the Kuwait talks, said before leaving that his delegation would return once the other parties have also agreed to the draft proposal.

"The Houthis and their allies want to legitimize the coup, when the putschists are ready to sign the agreement ... we will attend at once," he said.

"There is no point talking about any amendments or retreat on the agreement that we have signed."

He added that the government won't agree to anything without the removal of weapons and the withdrawal of militias from cities.

On Monday, the capital Sana'a saw a large demonstration in favour of a new ruling Presidential Council announced by the Houthis and their allies last week.

The formation of the council had been condemned by Ould Sheikh Ahmed as a unilateral action that threatened progress in the Kuwait talks.

Last update: Mon, 01/08/2016 - 23:27

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