In a step towards potential future recognition, the Houthi-aligned National Salvation Government (NSG) based in the capital Sanaa held meetings with three European ambassadors, representing the first high-level official visits from European diplomats since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in March 2015.
EU Ambassador to Yemen Hans Grundberg, along with the Ambassador of France, Christian Testot, and the Ambassador of the Netherlands, Irma van Dueren, arrived in Sanaa on Sunday and on Monday met with Yemeni officials including Prime Minister Abdulaziz Bin Habtoor and President of the Supreme Political Council Mahdi Al-Mashat. Former president and current member of the council, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, also met with the ambassadors, symbolically arriving by bicycle, as many Dutch politicians reportedly ride their bikes to office or parliament.
The so-called "Houthi" Government in the Yemeni capital Sana'a is on a quest for political legitimacy.
Today, Pres. Al-Mashat received EU's ambassador to Yemen Hans Grundberg, the Ambassador of France, Christian Testot, and the Ambassador of the Netherlands, Irma van Dueren. pic.twitter.com/VMfwaOpEaR
— Rune (@Ragerhus) January 20, 2020
According to the official state news agency SABA, the meeting touched on the cooperation and relations between the NSG, the UN and other international organisations in particular in regards to “alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people” which has deteriorated under continued aggression and siege and discussed plans for distributing essential humanitarian aid.
He arrived at the meeting on a bicycle:
Member of the Supreme Political Council Mohammed Ali al-#Houthi meets EU Ambassador and Ambassadors of Netherland and France .
— هاشم الوادعي (@hashem_wadee) January 21, 2020
Uprising Today reported that Al-Mashat welcomed the ambassadors, praising the UN and EU’s efforts to stop the aggression and achieving a comprehensive political solution, stressing Yemen’s adherence to peace but affirmed that the Yemeni people have a legitimate right to defend Yemen as long as the coalition aggression and siege continue.
The EEAS, an official EU diplomatic website said: “The EU seeks to encourage the ongoing de-escalation efforts and the resumption of intra-Yemeni political talks, under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.”