Riyadh-based Yemen government in exile Thursday quit peace talks underway in after Houthi militants and their allies formed a 10-member "supreme council" to run the war-torn nation.
"The negotiations have completely ended," said Abdallah al-Olaimi, a member of the exile government team to the talks.
UN special envoy Ismail Ahmad 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 militants and the General People's Congress of former president Ali Abdallah Saleh earlier Thursday announced the formation of "a supreme political council of 10 members". 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 air strikes against the militants in March 2015 in support of Hadi.
More than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched brutal airstrikes against the targets in Yemen. Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.
More than one year on, it still remains unclear who is winning the war. Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners claim to have regained control of more than 80 percent of the country, but the Houthis remain in control of the key strongholds of Sanaa, Ibb, and Taiz. One thing is clear: Yemeni civilians are losing the most.
UN Security Council Resolution 2216
UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad said the rebels' move to form a ruling council "represents a grave violation" of UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
The UN Security Council resolution was approved on April 14, 2015, where Russia abstained. Explaining the abstention, the Russian delegate said it had abstained because the resolution was not fully in line with what was required by the crisis in Yemen. "The text failed to take into account proposals his country had made and to call on all sides to halt fire, did not provide for due reflection on consequences and lacked clarity on a humanitarian pause. There were also inappropriate references to sanctions," he added, stating that the resolution must not result in an escalation of the crisis. He stressed that there was no alternative to a political solution and action by the Council must be engendered from already-existing documents.
Not surprisingly, the resolution, co-sponsored by France, the United Kingdom and the United States, was silent on the Saudi air strikes but mentioned the Houthis and Houthi 18 times.
The resolution demanded that the Houthis withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the 'legitimate Government of Yemen', and fully implement previous Council resolutions.
The resolution also called upon the Houthis to refrain from any provocations or threats to neighboring states, release the Minister for Defence, all political prisoners and individuals under house arrest or arbitrarily detained, and end the recruitment of children.
Imposing sanctions, including a general-assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, on Abdulmalik al-Houthi, whom it called the Houthi leader, and Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, son of the president who stepped down in 2011.
Ironically, the United States, Britain, and others, meanwhile, have continued to supply a steady stream of weaponry and logistical support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition. Britain, the United States, and France continue to authorize lucrative arms deals with the Saudi-led coalition -- apparently without batting an eyelash.
Since November 2013, the U.S. Defense Department has authorized more than $35.7 billion in major arms deals to Saudi Arabia.
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