Houthi gunmen overrun Yemen's national dialogue talks

Houthi gunmen overrun Yemen's national dialogue talks
With efforts to restore national unity in Yemen underway, the Houthis have stormed the mission's headquarters, seizing keys and intimidating staff.
2 min read
05 March, 2015
Anti-Houthi protests took place across Yemen on Wednesday [AFP]

Armed Houthi militants stormed the offices of Yemen's national dialogue headquarters in Sanaa late on Wednesday night.

The raid took place hours after Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen, told the United Nations Security Council of his disappointment that the Houthis had not yet withdrawn from government institutions.

The national dialogue conference's secretariat generalsaid 15 gunmen arrived at the headquarters late on Wednesday night in two military vehicles. 

The fighters overran the building's secuity - four private personnel and two members of the Yemeni special forces.

The gunmen searched the building and seized the keys to warehouses and offices. They withdrew from the building after establishing a security cordon, informing one employee not to "handle anything" without the group's express permission.

"This act falls within the context of acts obstructing the course of a political settlement," said the secretariat general.

The NDC is a neutral, non-politicised technical body, and cannot act on behalf of any party, said the secretariat.

     Gunmen searched the building and seized the keys to warehouses and offices of the national dialogue headquarters.

The NDC will now suspend its activities in Sanaa, but will continue to carry out its duties in other governorates.

This will be the case "until the gunmen withdraw and it is able to assume its role amid an atmosphere of a political accord where all Yemenis can act as partners".  

In a press conference held yesterday in Aden, in southern Yemen, Benomar said he had updated the Security Council about the Houthis' refusal to comply with UNSC resolutions.

"Those who believe they can impose their views on others or rule Yemen by force are harbouring an illusion," he added.

Benomar said that most political parties are looking at ending the crisis in Yemen through the Gulf Initiative, which deposed former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and replaced him with his deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Hadi is now based in Aden and is seen by much of the global community, including Gulf states, as the legitimate leader of Yemen.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.