UN envoy Ould Chiekh Ahmed is in Aden today to talk with Yemen’s “president” Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, seeking to convince him to return to discussions of a peace deal to end the Saudi invasion of Yemen as other UN officials reported the death toll of the war has exceeded 10,000.
Hadi was “elected” as president of Yemen in February 2012 in a single candidate election, for a two-year term. He extended the term unilaterally in 2014, and resigned in January 2015, when an attempt to crack down on the Shi’ite Houthi movement failed dramatically and ended with Houthi control of the capital city. Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015, vowing to reinstall Hadi militarily.
Efforts at brokering a peace deal in Yemen initially centered on Saudi demands of unconditionally returning Hadi to power, but more recently have sought to end the war, and the soaring civilian death toll, with the deal centering on an interim unity government that would allow Hadi a position as a figurehead leader with little to no power.
The Houthis have endorsed the plan, and the Saudis appear to be on board too, but Hadi has rejected the idea out of hand, and appears to be averse to any scheme that doesn’t end with him returning to a position of absolute power. Though at some point the Saudis can simply force the issue by pulling the plug on his support, for the time being they are letting the war drag on, hoping the UN can convince Hadi of the wisdom of a negotiated settlement.