SANAA: Yemen’s internationally recognized president will not participate in U.N.-brokered talks later this week with Shiite rebels who control the capital and much of the country’s north, his office said Sunday.
The statement said there would be no talks with the rebels, known as Houthis, unless they accept a U.N. resolution that obliges them to withdraw from areas they seized and surrender weapons taken from state institutions.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled Yemen earlier this year, and his government is currently based in Saudi Arabia, which is leading a U.S.-backed coalition that has been striking the Iran-supported rebels from the air since March.
Yemen’s conflict pits an array of forces against the Houthi rebels, who are allied with security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Heavy fighting underway in the country’s third largest city, Taiz, killed at least 14 people and wounded another 27 on Saturday as the rebels sought to capture a nearby mountain and other positions.
The conflict has killed more than 4,000 people, leaving the Arab world’s poorest country in the grip of a humanitarian crisis and on the brink of famine.
Several previous attempts to get the parties to end the conflict have failed, and it has proven nearly impossible to arrange a humanitarian pause to deliver desperately needed aid.