Foreign minister in Yemen's internationally recognised government Khalid Al-Yamani said it is not possible to hold further talks with the Houthis before the Stockholm Agreement is implemented. The agreement was reached during UN-sponsored peace consultations between the government and the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, in Sweden in December.
In a speech to the EU political and security committee in Brussels on Wednesday, he highlighted the government's vision for political settlement and peace which gives priority to confidence-building measures and political issues.
"It is not logical to talk about any other topics with the Houthis before implementing the Stockholm Agreement," he told the committee.
The Houthis have not complied with the bare minimum of what former chief of the redeployment coordination committee Patrick Cammaert demanded including opening up aid corridors, he said.
On Monday, he said the failure to implement the Stockholm Agreement will end the political solution Yemen, adding in his speech to the fifth Arab-European ministerial meeting in Brussels that implementing the agreement will lay the groundwork for advancing the political process.
"If the Houthis fail to comply with the agreement, especially the part on Hodeidah, then nobody can force them to commit to comprehensive solution obligations under the UNSC resolution 2216".
In Sweden, the government backed by a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed Houthis agreed to exchange prisoners, a ceasefire in Hodeidah which included redeployment of their forces under UN supervision and understandings on Taiz. The ceasefire came into effect on January 18th, but faced challenges since the first moment. The UN Security Council sent monitors to oversee it. It approved sending 30 monitors in December, and 75 monitors later in January.
The Houthis have been controlling Hodeidah since they ousted the internationally recognised government in late 2014. Last year, the government and the coalition started military operations to recapture it, raising concerns the world's worst humanitarian crisis caused by the four-year conflict could worsen further. The western port city is a key lifeline for millions in Houthi-run regions.
The pro-government Saba news agency quoted Al-Yamani as urging the EU to place more pressure on Iran to stop its irresponsible actions in Yemen including sending weapons to the Houthis.
The Yemeni-EU relations are excellent today, providing an opportunity for the EU to play a better role to help end the war and reach a political settlement, the minister said, according to Saba.
EU ambassadors who took part in the meeting focused in their remarks on horizons of the political settlement in Yemen and a request by the government for wider EU role in the country, Saba reported.
The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, leaving tens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.
The war has pushed the country to the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with more than two thirds of the 28-million population in need for a type of humanitarian aid and immediate protection, including 8.4 million people unsure how to get next meal, and some 2 million children suffering severe shortage of nutrition.