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Yemen Voices Optimism about GCC-sponsored Meeting Despite Boycott Threats

Yemen Voices Optimism about GCC-sponsored Meeting Despite Boycott Threats

Saturday, 19 March, 2022 - 10:30
A policeman directs traffic at a street in Sanaa, Yemen, 16 March 2022. EPA

Yemeni analysts have expressed optimism about the announcement of the GCC general secretariat to host intra-Yemeni talks in Riyadh, hoping that the consultations would pave the way for ending the conflict.

Despite the Houthis’ public threat to boycott the talks, observers noted that the meeting could constitute an important opportunity to move towards peace, and would give the international community a clear indication of the Gulf desire to resolve the Yemeni crisis and try to convince the Houthis to distance themselves from the Iranian agenda.

Yemeni writer and journalist Ahmed Abbas said the importance of the upcoming consultations stemmed from the fact that the invitation to the Yemeni parties was addressed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, and not by a single country.

Abbas told Asharq Al-Awsat that the timing is smart and very important. “The world is going through major geopolitical and economic changes, and a new multipolar system may be formed. The GCC states want to invest these changes by ending the Yemeni crisis, which is exploited by major powers.”

Commenting on the Houthis’ hint to reject the invitation, Abbas said: “Last year, the Kingdom offered them a peace initiative and they totally rejected it; and I think that they will not respond to the GCC call, because they have become a tool in the hands of Iran and have lost their independent decision.”

Yemeni political and academic researcher Dr. Faris Al-Bail noted that the GCC has acknowledged the importance of solving the Yemeni crisis, as well as the need to break the cycle of war.

Al-Bail stressed that problems in the country became more complex and intertwined due to the prolonged war and political stalemate.

On the expected outcome of the talks, Al-Bail said: “Whatever the outcome, the mere return of all Yemenis to dialogue without preconditions and without specific agendas means that they meet to solve the problem of the homeland, not to address partisan conflicts.”

He also emphasized that the GCC would provide the Yemenis with all the needed support if they reached tangible agreements and achieved reconciliation.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Information Fayyad Al-Numan underlined the importance of the timing of the consultations, as well as the great effort made by the GCC to sponsor a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

“The timing of the conference is very important, as it will show the United Nations and the Security Council who is obstructing and rejecting peace efforts,” Al-Numan told Asharq Al-Awsat.

In a statement, the Houthi militias hinted at declining the invitation, rejecting Riyadh, the Saudi capital where the GCC is headquartered, as a venue for talks.

They called for the talks to be held in a “neutral country.”

GCC Secretary General Nayef al-Hajraf announced on Thursday that the GCC would host intra-Yemeni talks at the the General Secretariat in Riyadh, from March 29 to April 7.

He added that the invitations would be sent to all Yemeni parties and components.

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