Houthis halt regional tour, to meet UN envoy

The Houthi delegation in Baghdad with Prime Minister Haider Jawad Kadhim al-Abadi to discuss the possibility of recognition to the recently-established political council. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @AbdulSalamSaleh)

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia group discontinued its regional tour late on Thursday and instead headed to Muscat to meet with the UN envoy, the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

After meeting with Iraqi President Fouad Masoum, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in Baghdad, the Houthis left for the Omani capital, Muscat, sources told Anadolu.

The sources said the Houthis will be meeting the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who will be arriving in Muscat from New York on Saturday.

The regional tour by Houthis is aimed at seeking backing for their unilateral declaration of a “political council” to administer the crisis-hit, cash-strapped Yemen, included Iraq, Iran and Lebanon.

Peace talks

On Aug. 6, peace talks between Yemen’s warring sides – the Houthi militia and the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi - ended without bringing any breakthrough.

Even before the Kuwait-based talks ended, Houthi militia and its allies in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party signed an agreement to set up the political council to run the country in late July, further jeopardizing any efforts to close the gap between the two sides.

On his Twitter account, the Houthis’ spokesmen and head of its delegation Mohammed Abed Al-Salam said “the delegation has returned to Muscat after an official visit to Iraq to open up horizons with the regional and international community, especially after the formation of the political council.”

Military escalation

Meanwhile, the UN envoy told the Security Council that the military escalation in Yemen will provide opportunities for militant groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS to spread, and warning that they will wreak havoc in many parts of Yemen.

“However, the absence of the state in many parts of Yemen, in addition to the chaos created by war, will continue to facilitate the expansion of the terrorist groups which represents a real threat to the region,” he said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49