Saudi Arabia is set to host negotiations among the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council member states over the ongoing political turmoil in Yemen.
The six-nation council had agreed to hold talks over Yemen in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported on Monday, citing a statement by the Saudi King’s office.
“The [P]GCC countries have expressed their agreement to the request of Yemen’s President [Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi] to hold a conference under the umbrella of the [P]GCC in Riyadh,” the statement said.
The development comes amid reports saying that Yemen’s Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi, who was under house arrest in the capital city of Sana’a, has escaped to the southern port city of Aden.
In a similar move, the embattled Yemeni president also fled Sana’a on February 21 after weeks under effective house arrest and went to Aden, where he highlighted his determination to resume duties.
Hadi stepped down in January, but the Yemeni parliament didn’t approve the resignation which he later withdrew after leaving the capital. The Houthi Ansarullah movement, however, said that Hadi had lost his legitimacy after escaping Sana’a.
Recently, an aide to Hadi also quoted him as saying that the fugitive leader considers Aden to be Yemen’s capital.
The remarks come as some Persian Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have already relocated their embassies from Sana’a to Aden.
In September 2014, the Ansarullah movement gained control of the capital following a four-day battle with army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the half-brother of the country’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Before gaining control of Sana’a, the Houthis had set a deadline for the political parties to put aside differences and end the crisis, but the deadline was missed without any change on the country’s political scene.
A few months later, they dissolved the parliament and announced a constitutional declaration on the Transitional National Council following weeks of clashes with government forces.
The Ansarullah revolutionaries say the Yemeni government has been incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and providing security.