Kuwait, the host for Yemen’s faltering peace talks, has given the warring parties 15 days to reach a deal or leave the country.
Three months of UN-brokered talks in Kuwait have failed to make headway, with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the government supported by a Saudi-led coalition refusing to back down from their positions.
“We have set 15 days to Yemeni parties for settling matters,” Kuwait’s assistant foreign minister, Khaled Al Jarallah, told the Dubai-based Al Arabiya news channel.
The government is calling for implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2216 which requires the rebels and their allies to withdraw from areas they have occupied since 2014, including the capital Sanaa, and to hand over heavy weapons. But the Houthis are demanding the formation of a national unity government before any other steps are taken.
“It’s time for decisive decisions that will prove your true intentions and national responsibilities to Yemenis,” he told both delegations.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes erupted in Yemen’s north-western province of Haja on Thursday as pro-government forces began the battle to liberate Haradh district from the rebels.
“The pro-government forces recaptured the customs offices in Haradh this morning, while the Houthis withdrew towards the centre of Haradh,” a journalist in Haja province who visited the area told The National.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the commander of the fifth military region, Brig Gen Ali Hamid Al Qushaibi, was leading the battle, but that the Houthis rebels were sending military reinforcements from other areas of Haja to Haradh.
Recapturing the centre of Haradh will not be easy as the Houthis have planted hundreds of landmines in surrounding areas, according to another journalist in Haja.
“The Houthis [have also] sent more fighters and military vehicles to Haradh front,” he said.