GCC reiterates support for beleaguered Yemen president Hadi

AFP , Wednesday 25 Feb 2015

The Gulf Cooperation Council reiterated its support Wednesday for Yemen's beleaguered president against the Shiite militia that holds Sanaa, as militiamen opened fire to disperse thousands of his backers demonstrating in the capital.

Days after Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi escaped house arrest and fled to safety in the southern port of Aden, GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani met him at a palace there, a presidential aide said.

He "stressed the support of GCC members for... the Yemeni president," said a statement from bloc, which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Zayani, accompanied by a delegation of Gulf ambassadors, told reporters after the meeting that Gulf leaders are "very happy about Hadi's exit from Sanaa and his arrival safely in Aden."

And he said the GCC will keep up efforts "to enhance security and stability in Yemen, and to support the brotherly Yemeni people to overcome the difficult situation it endures."

In Sanaa, thousands of demonstrators chanted "no to the Huthis... We stand by Hadi to face those who conspire against our country."

Protest organisers said militiamen fired into the air as others attacked protesters in the main Zubairi Street, wounding five of them.

The Huthis also seized 15 demonstrators and led them an unknown destination, the organising committee told AFP.

In addition to Sanaa, pro-Hadi demonstrations were staged in the cities of Taez, Hudaida and Ibb, witnesses said.

The GCC has already voiced its support for Hadi in his dispute with the Shiite Huthi militia, which overran Sanaa in September.

The Western-backed Hadi escaped Saturday and resurfaced in Aden, where he resumed his duties and retracted a resignation he offered last month.

He has branded all measures adopted by the Huthis, including the creation of a presidential council, as "null and illegitimate."

The GCC members rejected as a coup the Huthi move against Hadi, and the UN Security Council urged the militia to withdraw its forces from government institutions.

On Monday, the Sunni Gulf monarchies, long wary of Shiite Iran's alleged support for the militia, urged Yemenis to "stand by the president and support him... in order to end Yemen's dangerous situation caused by Huthis".

The GCC brokered a UN-backed peace deal that ended a year of deadly protests that eased longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in February 2012 and brought Hadi to office.

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