Riyadh venue for Yemen talks won’t be changed: GCC

Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah welcomes UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, left, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa upon their arrival in Riyadh on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah welcomes UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, left, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa upon their arrival in Riyadh on Thursday.


The Gulf Cooperation Council insisted Thursday that talks on ending Yemen’s conflict be brokered by the regional body and held in Riyadh, rather than a neutral venue as sought by Iran.

Tehran wants the UN talks between Yemen’s political factions to be held anywhere except in countries taking part in a Saudi-led military campaign against the Houthi rebels.

In a statement, the Gulf bloc’s foreign ministers affirmed their “support for intensive efforts by the legitimate Yemeni government to hold a conference under the umbrella of the GCC secretariat in Riyadh.”

The conference would be attended by “all Yemeni parties and components supporting legitimacy as well as Yemen’s security and stability,” said GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani.

The GCC also welcomed the appointment of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as the UN special envoy to Yemen, replacing Jamal Benomar.

The preparatory meeting was held at the Riyadh Airbase to set the agenda for the 15th consultative meeting of the GCC leaders scheduled for May 5.

The meeting also set the agenda for the May summit to be attended by US President Barack Obama. It will be an opportunity to discuss Iran’s nuclear deal and Yemen’s crisis, it said.

The preparatory meet, chaired by Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiah, highlighted the regional challenges and maintained that Operation Decisive Storm was necessary. Hailing Operation Restoring Hope, he said the GCC would continue to support the political process in Yemen.

The ministers welcomed the recent framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. They also urged the international community to find a long-term political solution for Palestine and Syria.

Al-Attiah expressed appreciation for the efforts made by Prince Saud Al-Faisal during his tenure as the Saudi foreign minister.The GCC ministers also congratulated Adel Al-Jubeir on being appointed as the new foreign minister.

The Kingdom’s delegation at the meeting was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah.


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