JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that Yemen’s southern separatists should hand over military bases and government buildings in Aden, and it reiterated its support for Yemen’s government, the Saudi Press Agency said.
“Any attempt to destabilize Yemen’s security is a threat to the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) and the region and will be dealt with decisively,” the SPA said.
Separately, Washington is in talks with Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militias in a bid to end the country’s war, a top US official said on Thursday, the first such contact in more than four years. The negotiations open a direct channel between President Donald Trump’s administration and the Houthis amid the threat of a broader regional conflict with Iran.
It also comes after the rebels stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen,” Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told reporters during a visit to Al-Kharj air base near Riyadh.
“We are also having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually accepted negotiated solution to the conflict.”
At the Al-Kharj air base, Schenker was shown a display of fragments of Iran-supplied missiles and unmanned drones intercepted in recent months.
“The United States is working to try and prevent the smuggling of weapons to the Houthis,” Schenker said while condemning the attacks on Saudi Arabia.
“That’s a priority for us.”
Meanwhile, UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has expressed support for negotiations between the Yemeni government and southern separatists that started in Jeddah on Wednesday.
Yemen’s government officials started talks with the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in a bid to end fighting in Aden and other southern provinces, a Yemeni official said.
The delegation, which landed in the Kingdom on Tuesday, is headed by Aidroos Al-Zubaidi, the council’s leader.
Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state of foreign affairs, said on Wednesday that he was confident that the Jeddah meeting would succeed in uniting the two sides against what he called the “Houthi coup.”
He also thanked Saudi Arabia for “leading the coalition politically and militarily with care and skill.”