AL MUKALLA, Yemen — Peace talks aimed at ending Yemen’s civil war that were set to begin on Monday faltered before they could start, when delegates representing Yemen’s Houthi rebels refused to attend.
The setback followed several aborted cease-fires and a previous round of failed negotiations to end Yemen’s 14-month conflict. The latest talks, in the Persian Gulf state of Kuwait, were supposed to bring together the Houthis and delegates from Yemen’s government, which was driven from power by the Houthis last year.
There is growing international alarm at the civilian toll from the hostilities, as well as frustration at the continuation of a conflict effectively locked in a stalemate since last summer. More than 6,200 people have been killed, and most of the population in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest state, requires some form of humanitarian assistance.
The war has shaken the Middle East, aggravating regional rivalries while drawing foreign troops to Yemen, including Persian Gulf soldiers who are part of a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting on the side of the Yemeni government. A power vacuum has empowered the country’s powerful affiliate of Al Qaeda, allowing it to seize territory, money and arms.