Yemen government is not interstde in Geneva 2, FM

Hadi’s foreign minister Reyad Yassin Abdullah said his government had no interest in organising a new meeting in Geneva, Saudi newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat reported on Friday, and would instead work with all parties to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 2216.

The Al Houthis reject that resolution, which calls for them to withdraw from captured areas, return seized arms and allow Hadi to return from his Riyadh exile.

Air strikes by a Saudi-led force hit military bases across Yemen on Friday, residents said, and the country’s foreign minister was quoted as saying there was no need to convene another peace summit after the first round of talks failed.

Talks in Geneva last week ended without a resolution to the conflict, which has claimed more than 2,800 lives, as the Iran-allied Al Houthi movement and Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi refused to back down.

Ten people were killed in air raids in Jawf, a northern province bordering Saudi Arabia, residents said. Fighter jets also struck the capital Sana’a, the Al Houthis’ northern stronghold in Saada, as well as the provinces of Marib, Shabwa, Bayda and Aden in the centre and south of the country.

In Sana’a, gunmen shot dead an Al Houthi commander in the Yemeni capital, as the militiamen came under attack elsewhere in the country, an official and tribal sources said on Friday.

The men, on a motorbike, attacked low-ranking officer Ebrahim Hassan Al Sharfi near his Sana’a home late on Thursday before they fled.

The Al Houthis’ Al Masirah television confirmed the attack.

Tribal sources said gunmen also assaulted an Al Houthi checkpoint north of Sana’a with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, killing several people late Thursday.

In the Al Houthi-populated Dhammar province, south of Sana’a, pro-government fighters attacked Al Houthi headquarters, killing five, tribal sources said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes against a rebel-held army camp in the central city of Baida and hit their positions in oil-rich Marib province in Yemen’s east, witnesses said.

Three months after an Arab coalition began air raids in support of Hadi on March 26, the Al Houthis and allied military units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh remain the dominant force on the ground, and have stepped up attacks on Saudi border posts in recent weeks.

Al Houthi fighters fired artillery into Saudi Arabia on Thursday, killing three Saudi soldiers.

UN special envoy Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad will hold talks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the coming days on a draft peace proposal with the aim of reaching a preliminary agreement with Al Houthi fighters, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 21 million people, or 80 per cent of the Yemeni population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The UN Security Council and UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien pressed on Thursday for more aid and commercial access to Yemen, where a near-total blockade by Saudi Arabia has slowed shipments to the Arabian Peninsula country to a trickle.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday it would provide essential medicines for treating non-communicable diseases such as heart and chronic respiratory illnesses for more than one million people in Yemen for six months.