World Bulletin / News Desk
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Thursday that Yemen's Shiite Houthi group had been invited to attend planned talks in Riyadh aimed at resolving the fractious country's ongoing political crisis.
"The invitation is open to all," Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, whose country holds the rotating GCC chairmanship, told a press conference following a GCC ministerial meeting.
"We hope all parties will participate with a view to steering Yemen to safety," he added.
Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi recently proposed holding talks between the country's rivals in Riyadh.
No date, however, has yet been set for the proposed talks.
In February, the Houthis issued a constitutional declaration dissolving parliament and establishing a 551-member transitional council.
The declaration, however, was rejected by most of Yemen's political forces – along with some neighboring Gulf countries – which described it as a coup against constitutional legitimacy.
Al-Attiyah said GCC countries were capable of defending themselves in response to reports that the Houthis were planning to conduct "war games" on Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia.
"GCC countries are capable of defending their interests and borders," he told the press conference.
On Thursday, a leading Houthi member said the Shiite group was planning to conduct its first "military maneuvers" near the Saudi border.
"The maneuvers are meant to send a clear message to whoever seeks to meddle with the country's security, be they domestic or foreign," the group member, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.
The military exercise, which the Houthi leader said would involve a range of weaponry, will be held later on Thursday in the northern Ketaf district, located adjacent to the border with Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis have long accused Riyadh of funding their opponents inside Yemen.
Riyadh, for its part, regards last year's Houthi takeover of Sanaa as a major strategic gain for Tehran – its regional nemesis – in its own backyard.Last Mod: 13 Mart 2015, 10:28