General News

Chance for peace talks to end Yemen war slim

Date: Dec 6, 2017

The killing of Yemen's former President will most likely lead to more chaos in the war-torn country, leaving remote chances for peace talks to end the conflict, a Saudi analyst said on Tuesday.

The former President, whose killing was pronounced by his former ally the Houthi militant group in the capital Sanaa on Monday, said just two days ago that he was ready to turn a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition if it stopped attacks in Yemen.

The call came as his supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in Sanaa while both sides traded blame for a widening rift between the former allies who had been fighting against the government. Together the forces loyal to the former President and the Houthis had also battled the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015.

A political analyst based in Riyadh, said the former President call showed his willingness to negotiate for a political resolution and the Saudi-led coalition welcomed his change of stance, but the hope was founded on the assumption that he would remain alive and able to command his network.

The former President's killing, however, has dashed hopes for peace talks and only made the future of Yemen even grimmer, said the analyst. "If the killing of Saleh were caused by the coalition or by the Yemeni government forces or by some other militia, there would have been some possibilities (for peace negotiations).

"But the former President was killed by the Houthis. So there is no other way out but to continue fighting against the Houthis," said Political analyst.

After his call to the Saudi-led coalition, coalition warplanes reportedly carried out three consecutive days of airstrikes against positions of the Houthi group, in a sign of intensified, large-scale fight against the militant group which still controls much of Yemen, including the capital.

Political analyst said following the former president’s killing, more of his supporters will likely rally against the Houthis.

Previous United Nations (UN)-led efforts to establish peace in Yemen have failed and the war has create a humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished country, with thousands dead, millions displaced, and millions more in immediate danger of dying from starvation, according to the UN.

--Reuters--

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