Yemen peace talks in Geneva collapse

Foreign Minister Riad Yassin says his delegation plans to leave the negotiations and return to Riyadh on Saturday.

The Yemen peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva have collapsed, with the foreign minister of the government-in-exile blaming the Houthi representatives for refusing to meet with them. 

Foreign Minister Riad Yassin told Al Jazeera on Friday that his delegation plans to leave the negotiations and return to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

“Until this time we have not achieved anything. Unfortunately, still the Houthis have not complied with anything,” Yassin told Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra. 

“There is no progress for the time being. We did not receive any proposal.”

Yassin said that Houthi representatives have even refused to leave their hotel in Geneva.

Following the collapse of talks, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy on Yemen, said a ceasefire should come before any new round of negotiations can start.

He vowed to “redouble effort” to reach a ceasefire, and held hope that an agreement can be achieved “pretty soon”.

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UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said there has been no date set for a second round of talks but that “discussions can still happen without people meeting in Geneva”.

“We’re taking this day-by-day, step-by-step,” Dujarric told reporters at UN headquarters in New York. He said Ould Cheikh Ahmed would return to New York to brief the Security Council before likely embarking on another trip to the region for further consultations.

US state department spokesman John Kirby said the talks were “a useful start to what will probably be a lengthy process”.

The news comes as the United Nations appealed on Friday for $1.6bn to help the millions of people in need of aid in the war-torn country, warning of a “looming catastrophe”.

The money is needed to address the “constantly increasing humanitarian needs in Yemen” until the end of 2015, Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian agency, told reporters in Geneva.

He said more than “21 million people, or 80 percent of the population, is now estimated to be in need of some form of humanitarian aid”.

Meanwhile, Friday morning air strikes targeted Sanaa, the southern city of Aden and the provinces of Lahj and Jouf, officials and witnesses said.

At least 10 civilians were killed in strikes on the rebels’ northern stronghold, Saada, witnesses said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press. The witnesses insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution.

The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and allied troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni armed groups and loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia.

The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies