Yemen

Yemen: Mediation efforts stumble yet continue

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By: Mohammed bin Sallam

SA'ADA, June 27 - Amidst confussion and varied opinions, the Doha mediation seems to start its first steps in real grounds. A mechanism for collecting Houthis; weapons was devised by the Sa'ada ceasefire implementing committee, and members of which have started going on record regarding the process. MP and deputy head of General People Congress Yasser Al-Awadhi, who is a member of the committee had warned Houthis existing in Magz, Qataber and Baqem districts to descend from the mountains and hand over their arms by yesterday, 27 July before noon. It is not know yet whether the arms have actually been collected or not.

The committee dictates dividing war areas into six areas. Observers believe there should be a road map for implementing the agreement, at the top of which come the issue of displaced and detained citizens.

Al-Awadhi revealed some Sa'ada locals are not happy with the agreement articles and they view the agreement as futile and Houthis are not serious about implementing it. They further believe Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, Houthis' leader, is stalling in order to rearrange his forces, who are at the verge of defeat.

In return, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, publically announced that they are in favor of peace and will wait for it patiently as they have done for the last five years.

"What was published in some local and Arab media as for the dissections among Houthis are ridiculous and baseless, and it fulfills the dreams of those who want to hinder the implementation of the agreement," he said.

Others seemed optimistic about the success of the Qatari mediation, particularly when Qatar is ready to pay money. The early indication of such tendency appeared in Doha where a memorandum of understanding was signed for establishing Qatar Foundation for development with a capital reaching $200 million as well as embarking on establishing Al-Saleh Medical city with the same sum of money.

Further, the inability of the army to win the war would help the success of the Qatari mediation. They further believe the state's financial position started to shake especially when huge sums of money are spent on Sa'ada war.

Al-Ishtiraki.net reported what it described as an informed source that there is a big disparity among the committee members and some social figures as to prioritization of implementing the Sa'ada ceasefire agreement.

"The members of the committee do not give importance to the agreement articles, they just focus in getting done with it as soon as possible," Al-Ishtiraki.net reported.

One disputable article in the agreement, dictates sending Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, his two brothers, and Abdullah Aydhah Al-Ruzami on exile. Another article which was not discussed and is not practically foreseeable under the given political priorities is regarding the return of the displaced people and providing means for their protection.

Political observers from the opposition claim that the state's refusal to cease fire during the last few days despite the agreement is a final attempt for inflicting more losses among Houthis before the ceasefire agreement becomes effective, especially when some field leaders reject the agreement once and for all and requested more time from the President to eliminate the Houthis.

So far the communication between the disputed parties and through the mediation committee has been through the phones, and other distant communication methods such as fax and email.

The committee stated that Houthis further raised new conditions for continuing the negotiations including handing over the corpse of Hussain Al-Houthi who was killed by government forces in September 2004 as well as freeing the detainees in return for their cooperation with committee.

However, Al-Houthi denied setting new conditions for effecting the ceasefire agreement or any dissection in among his followers and stressed his commitment to the agreement they signed with the Yemeni government in Qatar.

A tribal sources in Sa'ada reported that Houthi leaders are conducting daily meetings to discuss their reactions towards the agreement and the implementation of committee's demands; thus, refuting the rumors speaking about the dissection among Houthis.