UN envoy says to suspend Yemen peace talks

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UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (C), speaking during a meeting of the Yemeni Peace Talks with delegations in Kuwait City on July 17, 2016 (AFP Photo/HO)
The UN special envoy to Yemen said Thursday he plans to suspend peace talks between the country\’s warring parties at the weekend but that negotiations will resume later.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been mediating the talks between President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi\’s government and the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and their allies in Kuwait since April 21, without a major breakthrough.
"We plan to hold the final session (of the talks) on Saturday," the Mauritanian diplomat said in an interview on state-run Kuwait TV.
"We are working on issuing a communique that will emphasise on the main points we have achieved."
The talks would resume later, he said, without providing a specific date or the location but he added that they could return to Kuwait.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he offered delegates a peace plan a few days ago, and thanked the government for its positive response while adding that the rebels had some reservations.
The envoy said all difficult issues were discussed and some achievements were made during the negotiations.
"We wanted to have a sustainable and lasting peace agreement," said Ould Cheikh Ahmed who on Wednesday briefed the UN Security Council about the talks.
The peace plan calls for the rebels to withdraw from territories they occupied in September 2014 including the capital Sanaa and hand over heavy weapons, said Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
The government delegation which left Kuwait this week returned to the emirate late Thursday to attend the final session, its spokesman Mohammed al-Emrani told AFP.
The rebels had insisted that first a national unity government must be formed and a new consensus president appointed to oversee the transition.
Yemen, home to what the United States sees as Al-Qaeda\’s deadliest franchise, descended into chaos after the 2012 ouster of longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are fighting alongside the Huthi rebels.
Security deteriorated further after the Huthis swept into Sanaa and pushed south, forcing President Hadi\’s government to flee into exile in March last year.
The United Nations says the conflict has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since then, when a Saudi-led Arab coalition launched a military campaign in support of Hadi.
SOURCE: AFP

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