DUBAI – Two dominant political movements in Yemen on Saturday announced a 10-member governing council, against the wishes of the United Nations as U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait ended without an agreement.
The announcement of the council by the armed Houthi movement and the party of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh came as supporters of the internationally recognized president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, battled to try to capture the capital, Sanaa, from the Iran-allied Houthis.
The Houthis and Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC), hold most of Yemen’s northern half, while forces loyal to Hadi, who is backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, share control of the rest of the country with local tribes.
Fighting in which more than 6,400 people have been killed, half of them civilians, has created a humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.
Al-Qaida and its militant rival Islamic State have exploited the war to try to recruit more followers and establish roots in the country, which controls major shipping lanes overlooking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
In a brief statement issued in Sanaa, the Houthi-run Saba news agency published the names of 10 officials who comprise the political committee to run the country. The parties would rotate the position of president and vice president, who will be chosen from within the committee.
The Houthis and the GPC last month cited a need to bring in all parties to share in running Yemen in view of what they called the “continuing Saudi-led aggression.” But they insisted they would continue the peace talks in Kuwait.
The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has slammed the proposal, saying it gravely violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and warned the warring parties against any “unilateral actions.”
Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Saturday officially brought down the curtain on the talks, held in Kuwait since April, but said the parties had agreed to resume negotiations within a month at a yet undecided venue.
“We will leave Kuwait today, but peace consultations will continue. We will let the parties consult their leaders,” he told a news conference.
The talks have centered on a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for the Houthis to withdraw from areas they have seized since 2014 and to allow the government to resume its duties from Sanaa. The Houthis say any withdrawal must be part of a wider deal on a broad government to run the country.
As the talks wound down, Hadi’s supporters resumed an offensive to capture Sanaa and dislodge the Houthis from other parts of the country.
Residents reported heavy fighting in Nehem, east of Sanaa, and in the northeastern al-Jouf province, next to the Houthi home province of Saada.
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