Dubai/United Nations: Yemen's government dismissed as a "manoeuvre" on Thursday the Houthis' acceptance of a UN-sponsored peace plan and demanded that the Iran-backed group hand back territory it has seized since last year.
A Western diplomat, however, said that the Houthis had expressed acceptance of UN Security Council demands for an end to violence and added that if the Yemeni government refused to talk with the rebels it would look like a stalling tactic.
The Houthis, who control much of Yemen along with the party of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, said on Wednesday they had officially informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of their readiness to join talks to end more than six months of fighting in which more than 5,000 people have died.
Asked about the overture from the Houthi-Salah camp, however, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's press secretary, Mokhtar Alrahbi, said: "The government's position is unchanged. There must be an announcement of willingness to implement all articles of the (UN) resolution without any changes."