Sana'a, Yemen
Sana'a, Yemen

A United Nations-brokered peace conference for war-torn Yemen has been postponed after Yemen's president said Houthi rebels were not meeting demands for withdrawal.

A U.N. statement Tuesday said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked his special envoy to Yemen to postpone the talks planned for Thursday in Geneva, following a request from Yemen's government and other key parties for more time to prepare.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban is "disappointed that it has not been possible to commence such an important initiative at the soonest possible date and reiterates his call for all parties to engage in United Nations-facilitated consultations in good faith and without preconditions."

Dujarric said Ban is working to convene the talks at the "earliest possible time."

On Monday, Yemeni officials said the talks had been postponed.

Yemen's President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia two months ago, has demanded Houthi rebels abide by a U.N. Security Council resolution and withdraw from the territory they have seized before the talks can proceed.

Ban announced the talks last week, urging both sides to participate without any preconditions and to resume working toward a political resolution to the country's crisis.

The U.N. says violence in Yemen has killed more than 1,000 civilians, and that there is the risk for the conflict to spread further in the region.

In recent month, neighboring Saudi Arabia has led a coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Iranian-allied Houthis who swept into Yemen's capital late last year and surged to the southern city of Aden in March.

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