Houthi delegation arrives in Geneva for Yemen peace talks

Geneva, June 17 (IANS/EFE) A delegation from the Houthi rebel movement arrived this morning in Geneva to participate in the peace talks with the Yemeni government representatives, currently in exile, UN spokesman in Geneva Ahmad Fawzi confirmed.

The rebel representatives had a preliminary meeting in their hotel with the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who will act as mediator in the negotiations.

The pre-meeting addressed the problematic composition of the Houthi negotiating delegation, which should be limited to 10 people, while the rebels desired more.

“There is an agreement between the parties that delegations should not exceed seven members plus three advisers, but they were more than seven on the plane, so we have to lower the number of members in the delegation as agreed,” Fawzi said.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Reyad Yasin Abdullah, heading the government delegation, said on Tuesday that more than 25 Houthi delegates travelled to Switzerland for the negotiations, and accused them of trying to “create chaos” with such a large number of representatives.

In this regard, Fawzi said 10 people per delegation is “a reasonable number”.

Thursday marks the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, Fawzi remarked, which “may affect the presence of delegations from Yemen,” although he refrained from speculating further.

The fact that the two delegations reached Geneva after two days of serious doubts is a breakthrough to try to resolve the conflict in Yemen, the spokesman emphasised.

Fawzi on Tuesday met with the Yemeni government delegation, the third since its members arrived two days ago.

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