Yemeni government gives Houthis 24 hours to get to Geneva after militia refuses to attend talks
SANAA: Yemen's government has given the Houthis 24 hours to get to Geneva to attend UN-sponsored talks after the militia refused to turn up.
The Houthi milita said on Thursday, the day the talks were scheduled to begin, that they would not join the consultations until their conditions are met, accusing the United Nations of failing to keep its promises.
The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, which includes Saudi Arabia, said the Yemen government has given the Houthi delegation, which is still in Sanaa, a 24 hour deadline to arrive in Geneva.
Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis are not serious about the Geneva talks.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yamani said the government will not wait “indefinitely” for the Houthis to decide on whether they will attend the talks.
Al-Yamani added that a decision on wether to remain or quit Geneva talks will come out in the next hours.
Hameed Assem, a member of the Houthi delegation scheduled to attend the talks, claimed the UN had not met three conditions that had been previously agreed.
The conditions include the transport of wounded Houthis to Oman, the repatriation of rebels who have already received treatment there and a guarantee that the Houthi delegation would be allowed to return to the rebel-held capital Sanaa after the talks.
Earlier, the Houthis said in a statement to AFP that it is impossible for the group to leave Sanaa in order to participate in the Geneva consultations because a plane was not available.
They also said that they could not attend the talks due to the absence of guarantees that they would be able to return to the capital, and that the United Nations was unable to obtain a license from coalition countries to provide a Omani plane to transport the Houthi delegation and the wounded.
The Houthis did not specify in the statement the identity or number of wounded they wished to transport.
In response, Yemeni media published a permit issued by the Yemeni Civil Aviation Authority in which it approved a private plane to transport the Houthi militia’s delegation to Geneva.
Sources in Geneva said the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had met with the Yemeni government delegation to discuss the matter, and that the delegation informed him that consultations could not begin until the Houthi delegation arrived.
On Wednesday, Griffiths said they were working on getting the Houthi delegation to Geneva.