Saudi Arabia says talks to end Yemen crisis to be held in Riyadh


  • World
  • Monday, 09 Mar 2015

Women shout slogans during an anti-Houthi demonstration in Sanaa March 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Monday the Gulf Cooperation Council 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 Gulf Cooperation Council countries, on the request of Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to host the talks in Riyadh where the headquarters of the organisation was, and that they had agreed.

Yemen, a neighbour 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 President Hadi and the Houthi clan, now the country's de facto rulers who are supported by Iran.

"The security of Yemen is part and parcel of the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries," the statement said.

"The 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."

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.

(Reporting By Ahmed Tolba; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Chris Reese)

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