Yemen says U.N. Roadmap to End Conflict Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent’

Houthi rebels parade during a rally held to mobilize fighters for the battles against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi?

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 – Yemen on Tuesday appeared to reject a U.N. plan to end its civil war, saying the roadmap would create a “dangerous international precedent” by legitimizing the rebellion against the country’s internationally recognized government.

Yemen’s position deals a major setback to international efforts to end the 20-month conflict, which has unleashed a humanitarian disaster and killed more than 10,000 people.

A Dec. 6 letter to the Security Council from Yemen’s U.N. mission, seen by Reuters, called U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh’s plan a “free incentive to the Houthi-Saleh rebels, legitimizing their rebellion, their agenda.”

“The Ould Cheikh Roadmap creates a dangerous international precedent, encouraging coup trends against elected authorities and national consensus. Which are in clear violations of internationally established laws and norms.”

Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and trying to restore to power internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The coalition has failed to dislodge the Houthis and their allies in Yemen’s army from the capital, Sanaa. The U.N. proposal to end the stalemate envisions Hadi handing his powers to a less divisive deputy in exchange for the Houthis quitting major cities.

The Dec. 6 letter detailed a list of actions necessary for any political solution, including that Saleh and Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi must “leave political life and leave the country with their families into self-imposed exile for a period of at least 10 years.”

A senior diplomat at the United Nations told Reuters last month that Saudi Arabia appeared to accept Ould Cheikh’s initiative and had encouraged Hadi to deal with it.

The United Arab Emirates, another key country in the coalition, has said it supported the plan, which the United States and the United Kingdom also endorse.

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