Scheduled peace talks in Geneva between Yemen's government and Huthi rebels hung in the balance yesterday as both sides traded ultimatums and a UN envoy scrambled to mediate.
The rebel delegation, still in Sanaa, insisted the UN must meet a list of conditions before it will travel to Switzerland, prompting government representatives already in Geneva to give the Huthis a 24-hour deadline or it "will leave".
The Geneva talks are meant to be the first since 2016, when 108 days of negotiations between the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and rebels failed to yield a deal.
The Huthis control the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen, while a Saudi-led coalition which backs Hadi's government controls the country's airspace.
Led by Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani, a Yemen government delegation arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday.
But on what was meant to be the first day of talks, the rebels issued an ultimatum from Sanaa yesterday, saying they would not join the talks until the UN meets conditions that include transporting their wounded to Oman for treatment and a guarantee they will be allowed to return home after the talks.