SANAA, YEMEN- Yemen’s president in exile has turned down a U.N. peace deal aimed at ending the country’s devastating conflict, saying it “rewards” Yemen’s rebels.
The proposed peace deal gives Shiite rebels — who seized the capital in 2014 and eventually forced President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of Yemen — a share in the future government. It also reduces some of the president’s powers in exchange for a rebel withdrawal from major cities.
Hadi made his remarks during a visit by the U.N. Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Saturday.
“The Yemeni people have condemned these ideas and the so-called road map out of belief that the deal is a gateway to more suffering and war,” a statement by the presidency quoted Hadi as saying.
“The ideas presented … carry the seeds of war,” he added. “It rewards the coup leaders and punishes the Yemeni people at the same time.”
The statement said Hadi told Ahmed that peace is only attainable when the rebel “coup” is reversed, based on a U.N. Security Council resolution that stipulates the rebels must lay down their weapons and withdraw from cities as a precondition to any peace agreement.
The conflict in Yemen has left more than 10,000 dead and injured and displaced nearly 3 million people. The Arab world’s poorest nation had already been suffering from high rates of malnutrition, and the war and a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led military coalition has pushed the country deeper into starvation and turmoil.
Rights groups have accused the Saudi-led coalition of killing civilians, while trying to target rebels. Weddings, funerals, schools, and hospitals have been bombed in the past year.
Also on Saturday, a family of 11 people was killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the war-torn western city of Taiz.
Security officials told The Associated Press that the airstrike targeted the house of a citizen named Abdullah Abdo in a southern district called al-Salw.
Taiz, the cultural center of Yemen, has been torn between coalition-backed forces and the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, for the past year and a half. The district that came under attack is close to the front line, and officials said that it is often difficult hard to distinguish rebels from government forces.
The fighting between the two sides intensified in al-Salw in recent days and many families have fled their homes.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.