Aaj.tv Logo

Gulf bloc says Saudi to host Yemen talks despite rebels' rejection

17 Mar, 2022
Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. File photo
Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. File photo

RIYADH: The six-nation Gulf bloc said Thursday it seeks to host discussions between Yemen's warring sides in Saudi Arabia, despite the Huthi rebels' rejection of talks in "enemy countries".

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition fighting on the side of the Yemeni government against the Huthis.

The secretary-general of the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef al-Hajraf, told reporters discussions would be held between March 29 and April 7 in Riyadh.

"Invitations will be sent to all and the conference will be held in attendance of those who come," he said.

"We hope that everyone will participate and not miss this opportunity."

But the Iran-backed rebels said earlier on Thursday that while they were open to finding a peaceful solution to the seven-year war, they would not travel to Saudi Arabia.

"We will welcome an invitation to dialogue that does not take place in enemy countries," a Huthi official said on condition of anonymity.

"We will always extend our hand for peace," the official told AFP.

The GCC -- which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain -- had earlier this week suggested hosting talks between the two sides.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, a year after the Huthis seized the capital Sanaa and swathes of territory in the country's north.

The ensuing war has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, directly or indirectly, and displaced millions, in what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, the UN voiced disappointment after a donors' conference raised $1.3 billion, far short of the $4.27 billion target.