SANAA, Yemen, Sept 9 (NNN-SABA) - Chief of Yemen's Houthi group, Abdulmalik al-Houthi, on Saturday, accused the Saudi-led coalition of hindering them from travelling to the peace talks in Geneva. "The aggressive coalition has blocked our delegation from travelling to Geneva," al-Houthi said in a speech.

"In the previous talks (in Kuwait in 2016), the United Nations (UN) demanded us to waive any compensation, if the delegation plane was targeted during their return to Sanaa... so this time we asked a guarantee for our delegation to return safely," he said.

"Our delegation was not able to return safely at that time, only through the exchange of U.S. spies we had arrested in our country," al-Houthi said, adding that the coalition turned down their request for transferring injured Houthis.

The UN-sponsored talks between the two warring rivals were scheduled to start on Thursday but the Houthi leaders decided to set new conditions before the talks, including flying some of their seriously injured members to neighbouring Oman for treatment.

Earlier in the day, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told a press conference in Geneva that, the UN finally failed to manage to get the Houthi delegation to the talks. "They would have like to get here, we didn't make conditions sufficiently correct to get them here," Griffiths said, adding that, it was "too early to say when the next round of consultations will take place."

On Thursday, the Houthis said, the Saudi-led coalition prevented their delegation from flying to Geneva. On Wednesday, the delegation of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government arrived in Switzerland's Geneva, to attend the new round of talks and gave the Houthis a 24-hour ultimatum to show up.

In 2016, a similar UN-backed peace negotiations between the Yemeni rival parties, in Kuwait, have failed to achieve peace progress after several months of talks.

According to a latest statement by the World Food Programme, intensified conflict is worsening the humanitarian situation, particularly in Hodeidah, the key port, which is a lifeline for millions in north-western Yemen.


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