World

Yemen Says UN Roadmap to End Civil War Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent’

Tribesmen attend a gathering held to show support to the new government formed by Yemen's armed Houthi movement and its political allies, in Sanaa, Yemen December 6, 2016. Credit:Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

Tribesmen attend a gathering held to show support to the new government formed by Yemen’s armed Houthi movement and its political allies, in Sanaa, Yemen December 6, 2016. Credit:Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

WashingtonYemen on Tuesday appeared to reject a UN plan to end its civil war, saying the roadmap would create a “dangerous international precedent” by legitimising the rebellion against the country’s internationally recognised government.

Yemen‘s position deals a major setback to international efforts to end the 20-month conflict, which has unleashed a humanitarian disaster and killed more than 10,000 people.

A December 6 letter to the Security Council from Yemen‘s UN mission, seen by Reuters, called UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh’s plan a “free incentive to the Houthi-Saleh rebels, legitimising their rebellion, their agenda.”

“The Ould Cheikh Roadmap creates a dangerous international precedent, encouraging coup trends against elected authorities and national consensus. Which are in clear violations of internationally established laws and norms.”

Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and trying to restore to power internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The coalition has failed to dislodge the Houthis and their allies in Yemen‘s army from the capital, Sanaa. The UN proposal to end the stalemate envisions Hadi handing his powers to a less divisive deputy in exchange for the Houthis quitting major cities.

The December 6 letter detailed a list of actions necessary for any political solution, including that Saleh and Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi must “leave political life and leave the country with their families into self-imposed exile for a period of at least 10 years.”

A senior diplomat at the UN told Reuters last month that Saudi Arabia appeared to accept Ould Cheikh’s initiative and had encouraged Hadi to deal with it.

The UAE, another key country in the coalition, has said it supported the plan, which the US and the UK also endorse.