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Doubts over Houthi Seriousness in Muscat Talks

Doubts over Houthi Seriousness in Muscat Talks

Saturday, 27 January, 2018 - 07:45
Destruction in Yemen’s Taiz. AFP file photo

The Yemeni government expressed doubt on Friday that a meeting expected to be held between Houthi insurgents and a UN team in the Omani capital Muscat would achieve any breakthrough.

On Thursday, Asharq Al-Awsat said that a Houthi delegation would move from Sana’a to Muscat on board a UN airplane in the next few days, to attend talks led by international and regional parties aimed at achieving peace in Yemen.

However, differences emerged on Friday between the government and some international parties concerning the Houthi objectives from returning to the negotiation table.

Government spokesman Rajeh Badi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the insurgents will sit with the United Nations even after killing their former ally ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But “Houthis are not willing (to achieve) peace. We are certain that the meeting will not be productive,” said Badi.

Houthis have also abandoned their previous rejections to meet with UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad.

“On January 14, Houthis sent a message to the UN, saying they accept to hold a meeting in Muscat, without any pre-conditions, which means their letter was delivered before the envoy had announced that he preferred not to renew his mission,” Badi said.

However, a western diplomatic source said the participation of rebels at the meeting shows that the insurgents are now afraid and are currently looking for an exit.

Meanwhile, Houthi rebels threatened on Friday to assassinate Saleh’s relatives, held as hostages by the militias, as a response to any political or military act against the group, led by Saleh’s son Ahmad Ali or his nephew Tareq.

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