UN Mediator Urges Talks as 44 Killed in West Yemen Fighting

Pro-Saudi Forces Seize Northern Territory From Houthis

by Jason Ditz, July 13, 2016

Fighting is picking up again in Yemen, just as a UN mediator arrived in the country to try to get some momentum behind resuming peace talks in Kuwait on Friday. The mediator was in Sanaa meeting with Houthi figures, after a visit to the Saudi capital to meet with the pro-Saudi side.

The fighting was largely in the western half of the country, with the biggest clashes around Nahm, northeast of the capital, where pro-Saudi forces attacked a mountain base, sparking a battle that killed 25 people and left them in control of the somewhat remote base.

All told, 44 fighters were killed across the nation, mostly in ground combat, though seven Houthis were reported slain in an airstrike in the northern Jawf Province. The pro-Saudi officials claimed progress, but it was unclear what they seized, beyond that single base.

The Kuwait-hosted peace talks stalled last month when pro-Saudi forces demanded that the Houthis cede the entire country to them and unilaterally disarm, and the Houthis refused to do so. A UN resolution urging disarmament, which pre-dated last year’s Saudi invasion, served as the basis for the demand, but doesn’t seem any more likely to be accepted now than it was a year and a half ago.

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