Houthis set for talks with rivals in Riyadh

Houthis set for talks with rivals in Riyadh
With the UN's envoy to Yemen apparently side-lined by Gulf Cooperation Council, talks between rival Yemen parties look likely to take place this month in the Saudi capital.
2 min read
16 March, 2015
Artists in Sanaa have painted murals to promote 'peace and dialogue' in Yemen [Anadolu]

The self-exiled aide to Yemen's president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, is reportedly following up arrangements for peace talks between rival parties in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, who worked at Hadi's office managed, was held by the Yemeni insurgent group the Houthis, when they took control of state institutions in January.

Following Mubarak's release he has based himself in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, where dialogue talks are due to take place by the end of March, according to sources.

Organisers of the talks are apparently side-lining the UN's special adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, who purportedly left Riyadh for Sanaa, via Qatar,when he learnt about the move.   

In Sanaa, Abdul Malek al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi rebel group, is said to be in "indirect" talks with Saudi officials about the talks.

According to Yemen's official news agency, controlled by the armed group following the coup in January, Houthi said that rival parties in Yemen had agreed to the dialogue talks in Riyadh.

"Our communication with Saudi Arabia are ongoing, and there have been indirect communications over the past two days (that) confirms the readiness to restore relations between the two countries based on mutual respect, common interests and without interference with internal affairs," Houthi said.

Sources say that the decision of the GCC to manage the talks, away from Benomar, be a sign of a dispute with Hadi.

     The decision of the GCC to manage the talks away, from Benomar, could be a sign of a dispute with Hadi.

One of the figures heading the talks is the GCC's envoy to Yemen, Saleh bin Abdul Aziz al-Qunaieer.

Benomar has meanwhile called on the Houthis to unconditionally end house arrest imposed on government ministers who were overthrown by the rebels in the January coup.

The UN envoy met the officials, including the former prime Khaled Bahah, at their "besieged" residence in Sanaa.

"I discussed the latest developments with the ministers, briefing them on the latest updates on the current negotiations among political components, with the aim of reaching a peaceful and consensual solution," said Benomar.

Resorting to pressure, such as imposing house arrest, to achieve political gains cannot be accepted or tolerated."

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.