GCC states say Yemen crisis talks open to Houthis

The talks would aim for a resumption of the political process begun the ouster of Ali Abdullah Saleh

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Talks aimed at pulling Yemen out of crisis are open to the Shiite Houthi militia which seized power in Sanaa last month, Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah said on Thursday.

The Houthis have opposed any change in venue for U.N.-brokered talks, which broke down after Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi escaped from house arrest in Sanaa last month.

Hadi, who has resumed power from second city Aden in the south, has proposed that talks move to neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The six Sunni-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council members agreed to that request last Monday but have not set a date for the meeting.

“The invitation concerns the Houthis,” Attiyah, whose country currently holds the GCC's rotating presidency, told reporters following a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers in the Saudi capital.

“It's their business to accept or not.”

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani confirmed that “the invitation was addressed to all “protagonists in the crisis in Yemen, which is a frontline in the United States war against al-Qaeda.

At the joint news conference with Attiyah, Zayani underlined that anyone joining the negotiations must adhere to Hadi's conditions.

These include rejecting “the coup d'etat” by the Houthis, returning seized military equipment and allowing the state “to recover its authority over all territory,” Hadi said in a letter to Saudi King Salman.

GCC denounces Swedish FM's anti-Saudi remarks

The GCC also “denounced” remarks by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem criticising the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.

These statement constitute a “flagrant interference in the kingdom's internal affairs,” said the GCC ministers, mirroring Saudi Arabia's position.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Sweden, accusing it of flagrant interference in its internal affairs as Stockholm cut military ties with the oil-rich monarchy.

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