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UN envoy to Yemen returns to Riyadh without meeting Houthis

January 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm

A malnourished Yemeni baby receives treatment at the Sabaeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen on January 18, 2017 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Special Envoy to Yemen returned to Riyadh on Friday without meeting the Houthis or anyone representing ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has reported. The rebels refused to sanction the visit by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed until the coalition siege of Sanaa Airport is lifted.

Riyadh was the first destination of a tour by Ahmed during which he also visited Doha, Muscat and Amman. He planned to conclude his tour with a visit to Sanaa, but the Houthis refused. On his return to Riyadh, the envoy met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and discussed the Yemen issue, official media reported, without giving further details.

Sources close to the Houthis told Anadolu that they asked Ahmed to lift the siege imposed by the coalition on Sanaa Airport before starting any political discussions. It was hinted that the visit was likely to take place during the next two days. According to Anadolu, the talks in Riyadh are very likely an attempt to meet the Houthis’ conditions for a visit to Yemen to take place.

The Houthis raised the limits of their demands, explained the Turkish media outlet, after hearing about the concessions made by the UN envoy regarding the nomination of a deputy president during a transitional period with all the power of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi being handed to him.