Little hope for peace in Yemen as Geneva talks continue
General Secretary Ban Ki-moon speaks next to the Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed with representatives of the Yemeni government at the opening of the Geneva peace talks on June 15, 2015. (AFP/File)
The outlook is bleak for achieving peace in Yemen, delegates have said, as talks between both sides begin in Geneva.
Opening the negotiations, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon compared the urgency of the situation to “a ticking bomb.”
A representative of the Houthis blamed Saudi Arabia for his low expectations. Riyadh launched air strikes against the rebels in March.
“Expectations for these meetings are not great. Saudi Arabia seems determined to continue this war and to carry out its desire to continue to act aggressively in Yemen” Seif al-Washli, a Houthi representative said. “There are no signs Riyadh has any intention of stopping this aggression.”
Yemen’s foreign minister was equally pessimistic about the possibility of a ceasefire. He called on the Houthis to withdraw from the towns and cities they are occupying, including the capital Sanaa.
Riyadh Yassin, Foreign Minister of Yemen, declared: “We are not optimistic as (the) Houthis always refuse to be reasonable. And even when they agree on something, they always decline it.”
Delayed by the late arrival of the Houthi delegation, the talks are expected to last two or three days, with Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, acting as a go-between for the two sides.
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