GCC Plans Talks Between the Arab Coalition and Houthis (Details)


Tue, 15-03-2022 04:23 PM, Aden

Riyadh (South24) 

Reuters reported that the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considering inviting the Houthi movement and other Yemeni parties for consultations in Riyadh this month as part of an initiative aimed at backing UN-led peace efforts.

Two Gulf officials told Reuters that formal invitations would be sent within days for the talks on military, political and economic aspects of the war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition.

This coincides with the conflict entering its eighth year on Tuesday.

They told Reuters that Houthi officials will be "guests" of GCC Secretary General Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf at the body's Riyadh headquarters and would have his security guarantees if the group accepted the invitation for the talks, which are planned from March 29-April 7.

The UN Security Council issued a resolution on February 28, classifying the Houthi group as a "terrorist group" and expanding the arms embargo on it.

It was not immediately clear whether Houthi officials would agree to travel to Saudi Arabia, which backs the internationally recognized government of Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

According to Reuters, GCC members Oman, where some Houthi officials are based, and Kuwait, which hosted previous peace talks in 2015, would be a more neutral ground for such consultations.

Officials said Hadi, who is based in Riyadh, agreed to the talks, Reuters adds.

Yemeni sources informed "South24" that several parties in Yemen had received notifications of participation. According to the sources, the agenda for this meeting was not clearly defined, but previous reports suggested that fundamental changes would be made in the Yemeni presidential pyramid, according to the London-based Al-Arab newspaper.

Riyadh has struggled to extricate itself from the costly and unpopular war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. The conflict, largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is a point of friction between Riyadh and Washington.

However, this new GCC approach coincided with the launch of broad and unconditional consultations in the Jordanian capital Amman by the UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg. Grundberg met last week and early this week with representatives of the Yemeni parties and the STC.

Efforts by the United States and the United Nations to secure a ceasefire last year failed, and violence has intensified.

It was not clear whether the GCC invitation would enhance or disrupt the consultations that the UN Envoy seeks to achieve in order to strengthen his own framework for the peace process tracks that he intends to present.

The Houthis continue to battle coalition forces on the ground in energy-producing Marib, the government's last stronghold in North Yemen, and continue to target Saudi cities with ballistic missiles and drones.

The Houthis had announced two days ago their responsibility for a large-scale attack that hit the Riyadh refinery and Aramco headquarters in southern Saudi Arabia. 

Source: Reuters, South24
Photo: US State Department

Yemen PeaceAmman ConsultationsHouthisSTCGCC