Yemen's exiled government pulled out of UN-mediated peace talks with its Houthi adversaries on Sunday, as troops from the Saudi-led coalition that is seeking to restore it took part in ground fighting in a central province for the first time, Reuters reports.
The moves push back the prospects of a peaceful resolution to the conflict that has developed into a proxy war reflecting Saudi and Iranian rivalry for regional influence.
Loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been battling the Iran-allied Houthis across Yemen since March, when the group forced him and his administration to flee to Saudi Arabia.
In March, Saudi Arabia assembled an Arab coalition that mounted a fierce air campaign against the rebels.
It is believed Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat, though Tehran denies the charges.
The exiled government's official news agency Saba said it would not join the UN mediated peace talks until the Houthis accepted an April UN Security Council resolution calling on them to recognize Hadi and quit Yemen's main cities.
"The gathering affirmed it would not take part in any meeting until the (Houthi) coup militia recognize international resolution 2216 and accepts to implement it unconditionally," a statement carried by Saba and quoted by Reuters said.
It said the meeting included President Hadi, his vice president and advisors.
In June, Yemen's exiled government and the Houthi rebels failed to agree on a temporary ceasefire during UN-brokered talks. A humanitarian truce was declared a month later, but fighting continued even during that truce.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)