Geneva, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reiterated its rejection of the Shi’ite Houthi group’s takeover in Yemen, stressing that it will not accept the country being transformed into a haven for terrorists, in a statement issued at the UN on Tuesday.
The joint Arab League–GCC statement was read out by Qatar’s permanent representative to the UN Faisal Bin Abdullah Al-Henzab who affirmed their full commitment to the legitimacy of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and restated Arab–Gulf concerns at the latest events unfolding in the country.
The statement confirmed the Arab League and GCC’s commitment to the security and stability of Yemen, stressing the need for the country’s divided political parties to adhere to the 2011 Gulf Initiative that saw former president Ali Abdullah Saleh removed from power, as well as the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue.
The political and security situation in Yemen has been increasingly tense since the Shi’ite Houthi movement took over the capital in September last year. President Hadi sought to reach a political settlement with the group but eventually announced his resignation in January after the Houthis placed him under house arrest.
Hadi was able to escape Sana’a in late February, heading to the southern port city of Aden where he retracted his resignation.
The UN, Arab League and GCC have all recognized Hadi as Yemen’s legitimate president, calling on the country’s warring political factions to reach a power-sharing agreement to resolve the deteriorating political and security situation.
The Arab League and GCC have dubbed the actions of the Houthi group a “coup against legitimacy,” and on Tuesday reiterated that unless a political solution is reached soon, Yemen will become a “center for tension and conflict, which would represent a threat to the entire region and the rest of the world.”
The joint Arab League–GCC statement also announced the formal approval of President Hadi’s request for reconciliation talks in Riyadh between Yemen’s political factions, under the auspices of the GCC.
The GCC had previously issued invitations to the Riyadh conference, due to start by the end of this month, although it is not clear whether the Houthis will agree to attend.
“Yemen is at a dangerous crossroads and it could either slide towards chaos and disintegration and disorder or find a solution to the crisis to overcome the storm that it is facing in order to achieve the aspirations of the Yemeni people,” Henzab said.