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Yemen government accepts UN peace deal

Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam tweeted before the announcement that the rebels insist on a comprehensive and complete solution, and rejected what he called 'half solutions'. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Kuwait Jul 31, 2016, 04.07 AM (IST)
The Yemeni government said today it has accepted a UN-proposed peace agreement to end more than a year of armed conflict, but there has been no word from the rebels.

The announcement by the Saudi-backed government came after a high-level meeting in Kuwait's capital chaired by Yemen's President Aberabbo Mansour Hadi.

"The meeting approved the draft agreement presented by the United Nations calling for an end to the armed conflict and the withdrawal (of rebels) from Sanaa... and the cities of Taez and Al-Hudaydah," said a statement after the meeting, cited by the Saba news agency.

Yemen's foreign minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who is leading the government negotiating team, said he has sent a letter to the UN special envoy informing him the government backed the 'Kuwait Agreement'.

One pre-condition, however, is that the Iran-backed Huthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh sign the deal by August 7.

There has been no official reaction to the deal by the rebels. Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Twitter before the government announcement that the rebels insist on a comprehensive and complete solution, and rejected what he called "half solutions".

A political dialogue between various Yemeni factions will start 45 days after the rebels withdrawal, according to the government. UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Saturday managed to extend the talks for a week after the government delegation said it was leaving, and submitted the peace deal draft to both sides.

The approval also came hours after seven Saudi troops were killed in border clashes with Yemeni rebels. More than 6,400 people have been killed in the Arabian Peninsula state since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March last year in support of Hadi's government.

Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 per cent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.

(AFP)
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