Yemeni government rejects US-suggested ceasefire with Houthi rebels

Exiled Yemeni government turns down US Secretary of State John Kerry's suggested ceasefire, despite a tentative welcome from rebels

Tuesday 15 November 2016 14:13
Comments
A six-year-old boy is held by his mother as she sits on a bed at a hospital in Hodaida, Yemen, September 2016. More than half of the country's 28-million strong population is suffering from food shortages, the UN says
A six-year-old boy is held by his mother as she sits on a bed at a hospital in Hodaida, Yemen, September 2016. More than half of the country's 28-million strong population is suffering from food shortages, the UN says

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the armed Houthi rebels currently in control in Yemen and a Saudi-led military alliance representing the exiled government have agreed in principle to a ceasefire, which was later rejected by the Yemeni government itself.

Speaking to reporters at the close of talks in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Mr Kerry said that all parties have agreed to cease hostilities beginning November 17, and work on setting up a national unity government before the end of 2016.

However, Yemen's Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi later his government would not accept the proposals.

"The government was not aware of nor is it interested in what Secretary Kerry announced, which represents a desire to scuttle peace efforts by trying to reach an agreement with the Houthis apart from the government," Mekhlafi said in a statement on Twitter.

The tentative agreement on the rebel side comes after the president of the internationally-recognised government, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, rejected a peace proposal presented by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in October. The UN's roadmap is thought to have involved easing Mr Hadi out of power.

Details on the agreement Mr Kerry had proposed have not been made publicly available.

Yemen descended into full-blown civil war in March 2015 when Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels took over the capital of Sanaa. Shortly afterwards, a Saudi-led coalition of Middle Eastern states began a bombing campaign on the country at the request of the exiled government, which the UN says has killed up to 10,000 people to date.

Saudi air and naval blockades have left many civilians on the brink of famine. More than half of the 28-million strong population is in need of food aid, and Yemenis are also suffering from outbreaks of disease such as cholera thanks to the inadequate provisions available for the three million people displaced from their homes.

Western governments, including the UK, have been sharply criticised for weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which monitors say end up destined for use in the Yemeni war.

Humanitarian organisations allege that the Kingdom has dropped illegal cluster munitions - banned under international law because of the indiscriminate damage they cause - and also that the Saudi military capabilities are not sophisticated enough to avoid targeting civilian infrastrucutre, causing unneccessary loss of life.

In October Saudi Arabia announced an investigation into alleged human rights violations caused by coalition bombing. Human Rights Watch, among other groups, has called for an independent investigatory taskforce.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in