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Yemen's Hadi wants reconciliation talks moved to Saudi

AFP , Tuesday 3 Mar 2015
Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi (Photo:Reuters)
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Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi called Tuesday for troubled UN-brokered reconciliation talks to be moved to neighbouring Saudi Arabia if agreement cannot be reached on a venue inside Yemen.

The talks, which had been held in the Shiite militia-held capital Sanaa, have broken down since Hadi escaped to second city Aden last month after weeks under effective house arrest.

The Western-backed president, who withdrew a January resignation offer after his escape saying it had been made under duress, had proposed that the talks resume in Aden or in Yemen's third city Taez, which is also outside the control of the Huthi militia.

"As Aden and Taez are not accepted by some, I call for shifting the talks to the headquarters of the GCC in Riyadh," Hadi told tribal chiefs.

He also called for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, which group's impoverished Yemen's oil-rich neighbours, to sponsor the talks, an aide said.

The Huthis, who control much of northern Yemen and have set up their own government institutions in the capital, have opposed any change of venue for the UN-brokered talks.

The General People's Congress party of ousted strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is widely accused of backing the militia, has warned that it will boycott any talks held outside Sanaa.

It is by no means clear that Riyadh will be any more acceptable as a venue to the Huthis or their supporters.

The GCC has thrown its support behind Hadi and several member states have moved their embassies to Aden since his escape.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf states are deeply suspicious of the Huthis, fearing they will take Yemen into the orbit of Shiite Iran.

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