Saada, Yemen, 16 Rajab 1436/5 May 2015 (MINA) – A senior leader of the Shiite Houthi militant group said Tuesday that his group was “unconcerned” about upcoming Saudi Arabia-hosted talks aimed at solving Yemen’s political crisis.
“Dialogue between Yemeni political forces had been underway until the start of the aggression,” leading Houthi member Mohamed al-Bekheiti told The Anadolu Agency in reference to an ongoing Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen’s Houthis.
“We want to return to dialogue; we are unconcerned with other dialogue, whether in Riyadh or elsewhere,” he added, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Al-Bekheiti’s assertion came one day after Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is currently in Riyadh, set May 17 for a “national dialogue” conference between Yemen’s various political groups.
“Hadi has called on Yemen’s political forces to take part in dialogue aimed at changing the country’s status quo,” a presidential source, requesting anonymity, told AA.
Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have since sought to extend their influence southwards to other parts of the country.
On March 25, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive military campaign against Houthi positions across Yemen.
Riyadh says its air campaign comes in response to Hadi’s appeals for military intervention against the Houthis.
Hadi, who is backed by the Sunni-majority Gulf States, fled to Riyadh in March after Houthi forces attacked his residence in the southern port city of Aden, from which he had hoped to reinstate his embattled presidency.
The Houthis, for their part, have denounced the air offensive as unwarranted “Saudi-American aggression” against Yemen.
Some Gulf States accuse Shiite Iran of supporting Yemen’s Houthi insurgency. (T/P001/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)