Riyadh to Host Yemen Talks at Hadi Request

Riyadh to Host Yemen Talks at Hadi RequestRiyadh to Host Yemen Talks at Hadi Request

Saudi Arabia said on Monday the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ((P)GCC) had agreed to host talks in Riyadh to end the Yemen crisis, the state news agency SPA said, quoting a statement by the Saudi king’s office.

The statement said Saudi Arabia had asked the (P)GCC countries, on the request of Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, to host the talks in Riyadh where the headquarters of the organization was, and that they had agreed, Reuters said in a report.

“The security of Yemen is part and parcel of the security of the (P)GCC countries,” the statement said. “The (P)GCC countries have expressed their agreement to the request of Yemen’s president to hold a conference under the umbrella of the GCC in Riyadh.”

Yemen, a neighbor of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and global security worry because of its strong al-Qaeda presence, is caught in a stand-off between western-backed Hadi and the Houthi group, now the country’s de facto rulers.

Last month, Hadi fled Houthi house arrest to the southern port city of Aden and re-established his presidency there. Soon afterwards, the United Nations announced it would mediate in a dialogue between the two sides, warning that Yemen was sliding towards civil war.

But Hadi has refused to talk with the Houthis unless they vacate the capital Sanaa and has asked to move the talks to a neutral area.

UN-brokered reconciliations talks, which had been taking place in Sanaa, have broken down since Hadi’s flight to Aden.

Officials said on Sunday that Yemen’s defense minister also had fled Sanaa for Aden, in a move expected to bolster Hadi in his power struggle with Houtis.

Officials said Defense Minister General Mahmoud al-Subaihi escaped in a convoy on Saturday night, arriving in the southern port city of Aden early on Sunday.

They said the Houthis shot and killed four of Subaihi’s security guards in the western province of Hodeida, where they attacked a convoy in their search for the minister.

  Fight With al-Qaeda

Local Yemeni armed groups managed to “liberate” a southern city from the al-Qaeda on Monday who had taken it over earlier in the day, sources with the local armed group said.

The “Popular Committees,” a group of tribal gunmen loyal to Hadi, managed to flush out al-Qaeda from Al-Mahfad city in Abyan province after the latter had briefly seized control of it, the sources told, giving no further details.

Earlier in the day, al-Qaeda seized the city, where they attacked an army encampment, a security source said.

Politically fractious Yemen has recently appeared on the brink of civil war, with the Houthi movement seeking to expand its influence beyond capital Sanaa, which it took over last September.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the militant groups battling Houthis since they captured AQAP’s central Yemen strongholds last year, attacked a camp of Houthi fighters in Yemen’s central province of Baida on Sunday killing eight, tribal sources said.

In Maarib, another central province, clashes between tribe members loyal to the Houthis and those against it resulted in the killing of three Houthis before tribal leaders intervened to calm the situation, the sources said.