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Kerry pushes for Yemen unity government
August 26, 2016, 4:23 am

The 18-month conflict has killed more than 6,500 people, mostly civilians, and displaced three million, the UN says [Xinhua]

The 18-month conflict has killed more than 6,500 people, mostly civilians, and displaced three million, the UN says [Xinhua]

In a bid to end the Yemeni civil war following previous failed attempts, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new initiative to end the conflict.

Kerry told reporters during his visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss with Arab allies and UN officials means to end the conflict that he hoped a new goal of establishing a unity government would succeed where other peace efforts have failed.

“The final agreement would include in the first phase a swift formation of a new national unity government, the withdrawal of forces from Sanaa and other areas and the transfer of all heavy weapons including ballistic missiles, from the Houthis and forces aligned to them to a third party,” he said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that the new initiative would give the UN Yemen envoy a “road map” of sorts to use when negotiating with the warring parties.

Kerry also met with officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss the new peace drive.

“The meeting discussed as well everything related to the final solution, which will be discussed by the UN envoy with the Yemeni parties, we offer full support for the efforts of the envoy, and we expressed our hope for the resumption of the Yemeni parties of negotiations and reach to a peaceful solution and the meeting expressed outright rejection of the unilaterally taken steps by Houthis and Saleh,” Al Jubeir said in remarks quoted by the Saudi press.

In January 2015, the Houthis – who are Shia – seized the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa and forced then leader Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to resign. They have since sought to consolidate their hold on the country.

Hadi, who was placed under house arrest, eventually escaped and fled to Aden, the former capital of South Yemen.

He then declared Aden the new temporary capital of the entire country, but the Houthis pursued him there and captured that city as well.

The fall of Aden prompted the Saudis and some of their allies to mount military operations against the Houthis, who they accuse of acting as Iranian proxies.

The fight between the Houthis and the government, which was formed in November 2014, has created a security and political vacuum that has been used by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the more militant Islamic State (ISIL), to grow their strength and influence.

Government forces recaptured the city of Aden in August 2015; some government officials soon returned there to administer rebuilding the war-battered country.

The Houthis still maintain control of Sanaa.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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