Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Saudi-backed “president” of Yemen, spoke at the UN General Assembly today, dismissing the idea of any further attempts at peace talks with the Houthi movemet as “doomed to fail.”
Hadi was installed as the Yemeni President in a US and UN-backed move after the Arab Spring. He was nominally “elected” in a vote in which he was the only allowed candidate. He was given a two-year term, starting in 2012. That has long since expired, though he maintains he is the legitimate president, and the Saudis maintain reinstalling him is the purpose of their war in Yemen.
Hadi’s attempts to cling to power, and to violently crush the Shi’ite Houthis led to his initial expulsion from the country, and the Saudi-led war intends to put him back. Hadi insists that there is no point in talks with the “gangster-like” Houthis, and continues to refer back to UN Security Council resolutions from years ago calling for the Houthis to surrender all territory to Hadi.
Efforts to negotiate a peace deal between the two sides have repeatedly hung up on the issue of power-sharing. Though the Saudis and the Houthis have both been on board with the idea of a settlement leading to reforms and an election, Hadi has generally opposed anything which doesn’t unconditionally install him back in power as the true president, and which doesn’t put any timetable on his long-expired term in office.