Consultations in Geneva Fail due to Houthi Militia Absence

Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani accused the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saturday of “trying to sabotage the negotiations” that ended without their attendance in Geneva and said that the UN envoy had not been firm enough with them.

The Houthis failed to attend the consultations, but UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said earlier that it did not represent a “fundamental blockage in the process” and that he would meet soon with their representatives in Sanaa and in Muscat, Oman.

“We want the UN to be firmer in bringing the other party to the negotiations,” Yamani told a press conference before leaving the Swiss city.

Griffiths and Yamani, also heading the negotiating delegation in Geneva, on Friday discussed the release of prisoners, the arrival of humanitarian aid and the reopening of Sanaa airport, a UN spokeswoman said on Saturday.

UN-brokered talks to end Yemen’s three-year war were meant to begin on Sept. 6, but only representatives of the Yemeni government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi turned up as the Houthis insisted their plane to Geneva be allowed to evacuate dozens of injured people to neighboring Oman.

At a press conference, Griffiths’ spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci, said that the UN special envoy to Yemen started his negotiations with the Yemeni government delegation in Geneva on Thursday evening and that he is still waiting for the Houthi delegation to arrive from Sanaa.

Local sources added that Houthi militias rejected all international efforts to persuade them to allow the transportation of their team of representatives on board an international plane to Geneva.

Houthi narrow-mindedness when it comes to peace efforts is “no longer a secret,” General People’s Congress Party official Adel al-Shuja told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He added that the reason behind their determination to transit in Oman is to exploit consultations to transfer a number of Lebanese “Hezbollah” and Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials in Yemen, as well as to traffic Houthi leaders and bring weapons on board the Omani plane.

In a statement, the Aden government expressed its commitment to “look for any opportunity to alleviate the suffering of people who suffer from poverty and hunger.”

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