The UN announced Wednesday a date for its conference on Yemen.
But Yemen’s Riyadh-based government swiftly demanded a pullback of the Iran-backed Shiite rebels from seized territory as a precondition to joining the talks set for May 28 in Geneva.
The developments came as Tehran headed off a potential confrontation with Washington by saying an Iranian ship bound for Yemen in defiance of a blockade would now dock in Djibouti for UN inspection.
“We are not going unless there is something on the ground,” Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riad Yassine told AFP after the UN announcement, saying the government had yet to receive an official invitation. But even if it was invited, Yassine said the government would not attend without some implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 as a sign of “goodwill.”
The April resolution imposed an arms embargo on the rebels and demanded they relinquish territory they seized.
“We will not attend if there is no implementation, at least part of it. If there is no withdrawal from Aden at least, or Taez,” said Yassine.
Yemen’s ambassador to the UN Khaled Alyemany said that the Geneva talks would be “to convince the Houthis to give up what they are doing and be part of the solution.” Arab News