Yemen government demands Houthis release slain Saleh’s body

Martin Griffiths said congratulated the two sides for agreeing to take part in the talks. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Yemen government demands Houthis release slain Saleh’s body

  • President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi will demand the militias release Saleh’s body via a government delegation at the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva
  • Saleh, for decades the most powerful politician in troubled Yemen, was killed by Iran-backed Houthis in December

JEDDAH: Yemen’s government will demand the release of the body of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, killed by Houthi militias last year, at upcoming peace talks in Geneva, Yemen’s Information Minister Moammer Al-Eryan said on Wednesday.

Saleh, for decades the most powerful politician in troubled Yemen, was killed by Iran-backed Houthis in December.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi will demand the militias release Saleh’s body via a government delegation at the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, which open Thursday, said Al-Eryan. “This is an important message that all within (Saleh’s) General People’s Congress should take into consideration to turn the page of the past and move forward toward the future to restore the state,” he tweeted.

Eryan said the government will also demand the release of Saleh’s sons, believed to be detained by the Houthis.

According to one of his relatives, Saleh was buried in his village outside of Sanaa in a funeral attended by 20 people under the strict watch of the Houthis.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy for Yemen said Wednesday that “consultations” in Geneva between the warring parties offered a “flickering signal of hope” after years of conflict. 

“The people of Yemen ... are desperately in need of a signal of hope. We would like to think that the work we will do together in these next days will begin to send a flickering signal of hope to them,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths said.

That meeting is expected to take place in a Geneva hotel, as are any other meetings that might happen on Thursday. 

“So we are not going to waste time, and we are looking forward to getting our friends from Sanaa here and participating fully in the consultations.”

Griffiths emphasized that the Geneva talks were “not formal negotiations,” but said they aimed to pave the way towards bringing the parties back to the negotiating table.

The talks also seek to put in place a range of so-called confidence-building measures, which could prisoner swaps and the vaccination of children, he said.

“There is a chance for some tangible progress,” he said, adding that he hoped to get the two sides to sit at the same table during the consultations, which are expected to last a couple of days.


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.

(AFP)