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Yemen peace talks collapse after rebels form 'ruling council'

The main stumbling block at the Kuwait talks has been forming a Sanaa-based government [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 July, 2016

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Yemen's government has said that peace talks underway since April have ended without agreement after Houthi rebels formed a "supreme council" to run the war-torn nation.

Yemen's government said on Thursday that peace talks underway since April had ended without agreement after Houthi rebels and their allies formed a 10-member "supreme council" to run the war-torn nation.

"The negotiations have completely ended," said Abdallah al-Olaimi, deputy director of the Yemeni president's office and a member of the government team to the UN-brokered talks being held in Kuwait.

"We have participated and exercised patience for the sake of our people and we end the negotiations for their sake," Olaimi said on Twitter.

In Riyadh, President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government said the rebels had "fired the bullet of mercy" killing off the talks.

UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad said the rebels' move "contravenes" their commitment to the peace process and "represents a grave violation" of UN Security Council Resolution 2216. 

Ould Cheikh Ahmed who has been brokering 100 days of talks aimed at a peaceful settlement condemned the move without formally announcing the collapse of negotiations.

The Houthi rebels and the General People's Congress of former president Ali Abdallah Saleh earlier announced the formation of "a supreme political council of 10 members".

The job of the council would be to "manage state affairs politically, militarily, economically, administratively, socially and in security".
     
      The rebels overran Sanaa in September 2014 [Getty]

They did not name the council's members.

"The aim is to unify efforts to confront the aggression by Saudi Arabia and its allies," they said, in reference to the Riyadh-led Arab coalition that launched a military campaign against the rebels in March 2015 in support of Hadi.

The job of the council would be to "manage state affairs politically, militarily, economically, administratively, socially and in security".

Yemen's Foreign Minister Abd al-Malek al-Mikhlafi said the rebels' announcement amounted to a "new coup".

The rebels have "missed an opportunity for peace which the Yemeni people needed", Mikhlafi said on Twitter.

"We call on the international community to condemn the new coup against the constitutional legitimacy and hold the Houthi-Saleh alliance responsible" for the failure of the talks, he said.

The rebels overran Sanaa in September 2014 and expanded their control to other parts of Yemen.

In February last year, they set up a "Supreme Revolutionary Council" to run the country after they announced the dissolution of the government and parliament.

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