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UN envoy urges Yemeni parties to pursue peace talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture released by Kuwait's Ministry of Information on July 17, 2016, shows the UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (C), speaking during a meeting of the Yemeni peace talks with delegations in Kuwait City. ©AFP

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen has called on the Yemeni warring parties to pursue UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait for another week.

“I met today with both delegations (and) suggested a one-week extension to the talks,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday.

He said he also proposed a “framework for a solution to the crisis in Yemen” without providing further details.

The appeal comes after the Saudi-backed delegation loyal to Yemen's resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, said it was pulling out of the UN-brokered talks.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi-backed team, but a source close to Hadi said the delegation was considering the UN envoy’s proposal.

The news of Hadi delegation’s withdrawal from Kuwait talks come two days after Houthi Ansarullah movement and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party agreed to set up a governing council to run the conflict-ridden country.

The two parties formed a 10-member “supreme political council’, tasked with managing “state affairs politically, militarily, economically, administratively, socially and in security" based on the country’s constitution.

Talks between Hadi representatives and delegates representing Houthis and allies resumed in Kuwait on July 16 to end nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen which has killed close to 10,000 people and created a humanitarian crisis. The negotiations were suspended at the end of June.

The discussions had started in Kuwait City on April 21.

The two sides have managed to agree on some proposals, including how to continue with the exchange of prisoners, but some stumbling blocks remain, marring efforts for a permanent solution to the conflict.

Hadi had earlier said he would not tolerate Houthis as part of any future government, reiterating that the Ansarullah fighters must withdraw from the cities they control and give up their arms.

The Houthis say they will begin to withdraw if someone other than Hadi takes on as the president to manage the transition in Yemen.

The Houthis have set their own preconditions, including a full halt to aerial and ground attacks by Saudi Arabia in support of Hadi.

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