Yemen's government suspends Amman talks with Houthis following Taez attacks

Overnight attacks killed 10 Yemeni fighters and injured seven others

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A Yemeni government military committee said it is halting talks with the Houthi rebel group in Amman “until further notice” after an attack killed 10 members of its forces and injured seven others in Taez early on Monday.

State news agency Saba said the committee is in the Jordanian capital for talks with the Iran-backed group that aimed to create a joint operation room to monitor ceasefire violations.

In a statement, Yemen's foreign ministry said the attack, which took place in Taez's Al Dhabab area, is a “flagrant challenge” by the Houthis to peace efforts aimed at ending the war in the country, and shows the Houthis are making efforts to “tighten the siege on the already besieged city of Taez”.

On Monday, a “large-scale attack” by the Houthi militia was repelled by Yemeni armed forces, killing 23 members of the armed group and wounding 30 others in Taez's west, Saba reported.

“The Houthi militia heavily shelled army positions and villages in Al Dhabab,” it said.

A taxi on a detour mountain road around Taez, in May. Reuters

Foreign minister Ahmad Awad Bin Mubarak said the attack came while a military team was in Amman “to discuss ensuring the adherence to the ceasefire”.

The UN-brokered truce, which began in April and has been renewed twice for two months each time, is set to expire at the end of September.

Spokesman for the Yemeni armed forces Gen Abdu Mjalli said Houthi violations of the truce are “ongoing”.

Since August, Gen Mjalli said the Houthis had committed 1,436 breaches, in Marib, Taez, Al Jawf, Hajjah, Hodeidah and other areas of the country.

By the end of September, the government and the UN hoped to have resolved one of the main sticking points for reaching an agreement through peaceful dialogue; that is, the Houthi reopening of the roads around Taez.

The overnight attack on Yemen's military positions “came in an attempt to seize control of Al Dhabab area and cut the only lifeline route connecting the city of Taez to Aden,” the foreign ministry's statement said.

Since the attack, officials in Yemen's ruling Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) have been making a flurry of calls to members of the international community, including the US Special Envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking, to rally support against Houthi violations of the truce.

Yemeni government officials also called on the international community to expressly condemn the Houthi moves.

In a conversation with the EU ambassador to Yemen, Foreign Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak said: “A clear position needs to be taken against these violations and Houthi aggressions, as well as the exertion of maximum pressure on the Houthis to cease their criminal activities”, Saba reported.

Yemen is in its eighth year of conflict since the Houthis took over the capital Sanaa in 2014. A Saudi-led coalition began fighting against the militia on behalf of the government a year later.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 10:21 AM
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