Talks in Geneva to end the civil war in Yemen ended Saturday before they had even begun, with Houthi rebels failing to show up.
The talks, which were due to start on Thursday, would have been the first in two years between the two sides in a war that has plunged Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.
They were called at the initiative of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, who remained upbeat. He said progress had been made in three days of talks with the government, and the results would now be relayed to the rebels.
The Houthis, who control large parts of Yemen including the capital Sanaa, said they had been unable to leave because of insufficient security guarantees. They blamed the government and its allies.
The war in Yemen has caused over 10,000 deaths since a Saudi and UAE-backed coalition launched a military campaign on behalf of the internationally recognized government in 2015.
The coalition has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen since 2016. Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have fired long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia and targeted vessels in the Red Sea.
Fighting broke out on Friday near the strategic port city of Hodeida between UAE-backed government forces and the Houthi rebels, according to military sources. The coalition has launched a military offensive to retake the city, which is currently in rebel hands. Hodeida was due to be one of the subjects discussed in Geneva.