No New Talks with Iran-supported Militia: FM

“There would be no new round of consultations with the Houthi militia,” said Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani and called on the international community to pressure the coup to implement the Stockholm agreement.

“There is no agreement to hold new consultations,” Yamani told Asharq al-Awsat in a telephone interview, adding that media reports in this regards were leaks by the coup militias.

He said his government had asked the 19 countries sponsoring the political process in Yemen to put pressure on UN Envoy Martin Griffiths and retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, chair of a Redeployment Coordination Committee, to implement the Stockholm agreement, in light of the Houthis’ intransigence.

The foreign minister said that President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi has agreed, during his meeting with Griffiths, to extend the period of the Hodeidah agreement, awaiting a new timetable for the completion of the agreement.

Hadi met with Griffiths on Tuesday evening, in Yamani’s presence. The UN envoy informed the officials that during his briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday, he would point to the necessity that the Houthis commit to the Hodeidah agreement and withdraw from the city and its main port.

The Hodeidah agreement, reached in mid-December, calls for the withdrawal of Houthi militias from the city and the port within 21 days since the implementation of the ceasefire, and the removal of obstacles to the functioning of local institutions. According to the agreement, which was approved by the Yemeni government, the redeployment coordination committee will oversee redeployment and monitoring operations, as well as the demining of Hodeidah.

Yemeni government sources noted that the Dutch general was trying, since his arrival in Hodeidah on Dec. 24, to develop an integrated plan about the implementation of the agreement reached in Sweden, but the intransigence of the Houthi militias led to the expiration of the deadline before the effective implementation of the accord.

Griffiths arrived in Sanaa last Saturday and held meetings with Houthi leaders in an effort to persuade them to implement the agreement, before leaving to meet with the leaders of the legitimacy without issuing an official statement.

Regarding the holding of further consultations, Yamani said: “There is no agreement to hold new consultations, and the media reports are leaks by the coup militias,” noting that when Muhammad Ali al-Houthi spoke of another round in Jordan, his statements were not confirmed by the international envoy during his meetings with the legitimate government, “nor did the sponsoring countries raise such ideas during our meeting with them.”

As for the briefing of the special envoy to the Security Council on Wednesday, the foreign minister said: “The government hopes that Martin Griffiths would be strict over the need to implement the Hodeidah Agreement.”

Official government reports revealed that the Houthi violations since the beginning of the ceasefire on Dec. 18 resulted in the death and injury of 287 people, as the group continued its military movements, by building around 109 field barriers in the streets of Hodeidah. Observers saw in the moves an indication to a new wave of military operations against government forces and evidence of the lack of seriousness by the Houthis in the implementation of the agreement reached in Sweden.

Yamani reiterated his country’s commitment to maintaining its support to the UN envoy, and its readiness to facilitate its mission, praising efforts made by Griffiths during the peace talks in Sweden, which resulted in the Stockholm agreement.

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