Yemen reverses decision to expel UN human rights envoy

T-Mag Saturday 09/January/2016 19:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Yemen reverses decision to expel UN human rights envoy
United Nations/Cairo: Yemen's government has reversed a decision to expel a UN human rights envoy after the original announcement caused an unnecessary "fuss", according to a letter from the Yemeni mission to the United Nations.
The foreign ministry had declared the representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), George Abu Al Zulof, persona non grata on Thursday over what it called unfair statements.
"Because of the fuss created around the matter and caused by media reports... the Yemeni government has decided to give more time to review the relationship with the OHCHR, in order to uphold the values of human rights," said the letter from Yemen's UN mission to Ban, seen by Reuters on Saturday.
"For more cooperation between the government of Yemen and all organs and bodies of the United Nations, the government has decided to maintain the status quo of the country representative of the OHCHR representative in Yemen," it said.
The letter was dated Friday.
A senior Yemeni official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the reversal came in response to an appeal from Ban to Yemen's government.
Meanwhile, Yemen's government said on Saturday that peace talks due to be held on January. 14 would most probably be postponed beyond that date.
"The thinking is to postpone the round of peace talks from mid-January to another date," spokesman Rajeh Badi told Reuters.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and allies has been fighting the Houthi movement, which controls the capital of Yemen, since March 2015.
Negotiations to end the conflict were set to resume next week, with the UN special envoy to Yemen saying they would most likely take place in Geneva.
Badi said the announcement by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh that he would not take part in the talks and the lack of Houthi commitment to carrying out their promises of releasing prisoners were amongst the reasons behind the push for postponement.
Saleh said on Friday he would not negotiate with Hadi's government.
The warring sides held the latest round of peace talks in December but failed to find a political solution that would end the conflict, which has killed nearly 6,000 people.