Saudi strikes botched up an emerging Yemen deal? Says ex-UN envoy

    April20/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Sanaa: Saudi Arabia's decision to launch air strikes in Yemen played spoilsport with an emerging power-sharing deal between the warring factions, suggested former UN envoy Jamal Benomar. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the former UN envoy claims that both the pro-government forces and Houthi rebels were on their way to work out a power-sharing deal when Saudi launched strikes on March 26, leading both the rival sides to harden their positions. �When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,� Benomar told the WSJ. According to the report, Benomar who recently resigned as UN Special Advisor to Yemen, is scheduled to "address the UN Security Council behind closed doors on Monday and report on the suspended political talks". Jamal Benomar was leading UN-brokered negotiations since January that involved a dozen of political factions in Yemen. The former UN envoy claimed that the talks aimed at establishing an executive body to govern Yemen, of which the embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi would be a part of. According to the power-sharing deal, the Houthis had agreed to Hadi's mitigated powers and also accepted to remove their militias from captured cities. However, after March 26 intervention by Saudi-led planes, both the sides became more adamant and stiffened their positions as Houthis vehemently opposed any role of Hadi in the new executive body and the pro-govt faction became against granting any political power to the Houthis, the former UN envoy claims. The fresh claims by the former UN envoy comes as Saudi on Sunday resumed air strikes in Yemen after it announced, last week, the end of air campaign named Operation Decisive Storm. Saudi Arabia defense ministry had earlier announced the end of the air strikes in Yemen as the threat was eliminated and military objectives of Operation Decisive Storm were achieved. Saudi also said that at the request of Yemeni President Hadi, the focus will now shift from military operations to the political process, beginning a new phase - Operation Restore Hope - in Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia's fresh strikes come as it had warned that the coalition will counter any military moves by the Houthis or their allies. The Houthis captured Sanaa in September and continued advancing taking large swathes of Yemen, forcing President Hadi to flee to Riyadh. According to the UN, over 1000 have been killed in last one month of violence in Yemen, with more than 500 being civilians.

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