The UN envoy to Yemen said warring parties are unable to agree on terms for a new round of peace talks, two months after holding their first face-to-face meeting.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that “deep divisions persist that prevent me from calling for the next round of talks.”
Delegation of Saudi-backed ousted government sat down with Sanaa government delegation in December to begin talks on ending a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition.UN Yemen envoy
The UN-brokered negotiations held in Switzerland were to resume in mid-January, but that meeting was delayed and no new date has been announced.
The UN envoy said the parties were divided on “whether a new round of talks should be convened with or without a new cessation of hostilities” and were not willing to offer sufficient guarantees that a truce would hold.
Confidence-building measures such as prisoner exchanges that were agreed to during the first round have yet to be implemented, he said.
“We cannot delay these talks beyond, in my view, the month of March,” the envoy told reporters.
Yemen has been since March 26, 2015 under brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition. Thousands have been martyred and injured in the attack, with the vast majority of them are civilians.
Riyadh launched the attack on Yemen in a bid to restore power to fugitive president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is a close ally to Saudi Arabia.
However, Yemeni army, backed by the popular committees has been engaged in battles with Saudi-led mercenaries and Hadi’s militias in several areas across the country.
A ceasefire went into force on December 15, but it was repeatedly violated and the Saudi-led coalition announced an end to the truce on January 2.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that “many parts of Yemen are again witnessing (Saudi-led) airstrikes and extensive ground fighting.”
Meanwhile, he cited a “significant increase” in the number of missiles fired by Yemeni army and popular committees across the border into Saudi Arabia and an upsurge in attacks carried out by Takfiri militants.
The UN envoy urged the Security Council to push for a halt to the fighting to pave the way to a permanent ceasefire and return to peaceful negotiations.
“Yemen has suffered greatly, and its people have withstood an unspeakable tragedy,” he said.
The envoy rejected Saudi claims that a UN-chartered aid ship bound for Yemen was diverted to a Saudi port because it was carrying communications equipment that “could be used for military purposes.”
Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the equipment was to be used by UN staff to help protect their security.
The MV Mainport Cedar was travelling from Djibouti to Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeida when it was diverted to Jazan in southwest Saudi Arabia last Thursday, the World Food Program said.