US envoy blames Houthis for Yemen peace deal delays

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A firewood vendor waits for customers on the side of a road to the village of Al-Jaraib, in the northwestern province of Hajjah, Yemen, in this Feb. 18, 2019 file photo. — Reuters

ADEN — The US ambassador to Yemen blamed the Iran-aligned Houthi militants on Thursday for the stalling of a UN-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah and said the group’s weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.

The internationally-recognized Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control, at talks in Sweden in December. The agreement was the first major breakthrough in efforts to end more than four years of war.

While the truce has largely held, the troop withdrawal has yet to materialize with both parties blaming each other for lack of progress in implementing the pact.

“We are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing,” ambassador Matthew Tueller told a televised news conference in the southern port of Aden, where the legitimate government of Yemen is based.

“We are willing to work with others in order to try to implement these (Sweden) agreements and see whether the Houthis can in fact demonstrate a political maturity and start to serve the interests of Yemen rather than acting on behalf of those who seek to weaken and destroy Yemen,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war. — Reuters


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