Yemen’s General People’s Congress (GPC) and the Southern Separatist Movement have withdrawn from a United Nations-sponsored meeting, it has been reported.
A source in the GPC, whose leader is the former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, told Anadolu that its representatives withdrew from the meeting with a UN envoy protesting that it ignores the Yemeni Constitution. They stressed that any solution “must be based on the constitutional institutions” of the country. The 3 days of talks are intended to fill the power vacuum created by the resignation of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet earlier this month. UN Envoy Jamal Benomar has been working with political parties on a possible power-sharing deal.
In a statement, the Southern Movement announced the “full withdrawal” of its representatives and described the discussions as “absurd”. The movement claimed that the talks would lead to “unknown” results because they were being conducted while the “legal leaders of the country are under siege.” It called for an end to the circumstances which led to the president’s resignation, to reduce the “tension” and return to the situation in place prior to 21 September last year. That is when the rebel Houthi group “raided” the capital Sanaa.
“We affirm to our people that we will not be part of any deal that attempts to legitimise the coup,” said a Southern Movement spokesman. He called for guarantees to regain legitimacy through running the state from outside Sanaa until the tension eases.
Meanwhile, the national conference called for by the Houthi rebels started on Friday evening in Sanaa. The conference is to discuss the country’s current political situation. In the opening speech, the head of the political council of the Houthi Ansarullah group, Saleh Al-Sammad, said that Yemen is at a historic juncture whereby it can regain its “glory and civilisation”.
Rebel leader Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi called on Tuesday for a review of the political and security situation in the country in order to take “important, exceptional and historic decisions”.