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Yemenis slam Saudi Arabia for barring Ansarullah delegation from attending Geneva talks

Thousands of Yemeni people have taken to the streets of capital Sana’a to protest against a Saudi-led military coalition for its alleged refusal to allow a delegation of the popular Ansarullah Movement to fly to Geneva to attend the United Nations-sponsored peace talks in the Swiss city.

According to Press TV, speaking amid the protest rally on Friday, Loay al-Shamy, a senior Ansarullah official in the Ministry of Information, said that the Ansarullah delegation had been ready to leave Sana’a International Airport for Geneva, but the UN, under pressure by the so-called coalition, “could not fulfill what was agreed on, which is to provide an Omani plane for the delegation that will participate in Geneva and offer the assurances required for the return of the delegation.”

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah Movement, which plays a significant role in aiding the Yemeni army in defending the impoverished country against the invading coalition.

The former Yemeni government resigned in 2015 as the country was experiencing political turmoil. Shortly afterwards, Hadi fled to Riyadh, where he encouraged the Saudis to launch attacks on Yemen in a bid to regain power.

The Ansarullah Movement has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective administration since the onset of the imposed war, which has so far martyred some 16,000 people.

The UN invited the two opposing sides, the Ansarullah Movement and Hadi’s Saudi-backed administration based in the southern Yemeni city of Eden, to send their respective delegations to a fresh round of peace talks, which were slated to open on Thursday.

As the Saudi-led military coalition has imposed a tight sea and air blockade on Yemen for months, the Ansarullah delegation was scheduled to fly to Geneva through an Omani airplane provided by the UN, but it has so far failed to do so due to purported pressure from Riyadh.

On Wednesday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths voiced confidence in the planned negotiations despite a delay as the delegation representing the Ansarullah delegation remains stranded at the Sana’a airport. He had to postpone the talks due to delay in the arrival of the Ansarullah delegation.