Peace talks stalled over payment dispute with Saudi: Yemen’s Houthi militia

Yemen peace talks. — IANS

Sanaa, July 25 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi militia said that peace talks with Saudi Arabia have been put on hold because of a dispute over the payment of the country civil servants in areas held by the Iran-backed group.

In a statement late Monday, Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi supreme political council, said that the negotiations had focused on the issue of paying salaries out of Yemen’s oil and gas revenues, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Houthis rejected the Saudi proposal of providing the funds via the Saudi banking system and accused Saudi Arabia of attempting to “steal Yemen’s oil wealth for their own benefits”, al-Mashat was quoted as saying.

Al-Mashat appealed to teachers and civil servants in Houthi-controlled areas to continue their work without payment, assuring them that his group will get revenues of Yemen’s oil exports from its rivals.

Many teachers and civil servants in Houthi-controlled areas have to look for alternate jobs in order to support their family because of the lack of payment.

There has been no response to the Houthi report from Saudi Arabia.

Currently, Yemen’s oil and gas revenues are under the control of the country’s internationally recognized government, which is responsible for paying the wages of the civil servants who work in the areas under its control.

In the latest round of peace negotiations, the Yemeni government agreed to reopen the Hodeidah seaport and Sanaa airport, both of which are under Houthis’ control, on the condition that the rebel group sends their revenues to the central bank in Aden, the government’s temporary seat, for salary payment.

However, the Houthis have refused to comply with the request, government sources said.

Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi militia took control of several northern cities, driving the Saudi-backed government out of the capital Sanaa. The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in 2015 to support the Yemeni government. 

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