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Yemen govt delegates quit talks

Yemen govt delegates quit talks

KUWAIT CITY: Yemen’s government delegation to peace talks were leaving Kuwait on Monday after the rebel side rejected a draft peace plan proposed by the United Nations, its representatives said.

“We now leave Kuwait ... but are not quitting the consultations and not ending them before Aug 7,” said the head of the delegation, Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi.

He was referring to the end date set by the UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed for the talks that began April but have so far failed to end Yemen’s conflict.

“We will return any minute ... if the other side agrees to sign” the UN proposal, which was accepted by the government but rejected by the rebels, Mikhlafi told reporters at Kuwait Airport.

Government delegation spokesman Mohammed al-Emrani earlier told AFP: “We are leaving today after having completed our part in the talks.”

“The ball is now in the rebels’ court,” he said.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels and their allies, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists, rejected the peace plan on Sunday, saying it was incomplete.

“The other party now has the key to make the talks fail or succeed ... If they agree to the plan, our delegation will return,” Emrani said.

Mikhlafi lashed out at the rebels for rejecting the peace plan. “This Huthi-Saleh alliance will never accept any peace deal that does not legitimise their coup,” Mikhlafi said.

Four dead in cross-border shelling from Yemen

Cross-border shelling from war-torn Yemen killed four people in Saudi Arabia on Monday, authorities in the kingdom said.

Three others were wounded and hospitalised after the incident in the Jazan region, the civil defence agency said on Twitter without giving details.

Saudi Arabia has led a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government in its fight against Iran-backed rebels since March last year.

The rebels have in recent days intensified cross-border attacks on the kingdom as peace talks in Kuwait have failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Border clashes left a Saudi army officer and six soldiers dead on Saturday.

Around 100 members of the Saudi forces and civilians have been killed in skirmishes, by artillery fire or landmines inside the kingdom’s borders since the coalition launched its campaign.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2016

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