Dubai: The ongoing war in Yemen will be the focus of meeting in Saudi Arabia later this week, with analysts saying that the international community is expected to play a bigger role in efforts to reach a settlement to the war.
The Gulf-American-British meetings will come in the wake of a Saudi-Russian meeting held also in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss the developments in Yemen, press reports said.
No further details on the meeting between Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also the special envoy of Russian President for the Middle East and African countries.
“A number of issues of mutual concern to the two countries were discussed,” Saudi press said.
Political analysts have suggested that the meeting may be part of a Russian mediation effort in the Yemeni conflict following an Iranian request to find a political solution to the conflict,” said Waheed Hamza Hashem, a Saudi political scientist based in Jeddah.
“It is obvious that Al Houthis and their supporters wouldn’t have endured one-and-a-half years of continuous strikes without supplies from Iran,” said Hashem.
The talks are aimed at urging the international community to put pressure on Iran and its allies in Yemen who have been accused by the coalition of stalling UN-backed negotiations. The Arab coalition had earlier said that Al Houthis and Saleh had exploited the talks in Kuwait to rearm and regroup.
The internationally-recognised Yemeni government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has decided to stop dealings with the Yemeni central bank because it was complicit in the Al Houthi coup, according to Yemeni officials quoted by the Saudi-owned newspaper of Al Sharq Al Awsat.
The issue was discussed in a meeting between the UN envoy to Yemen, Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad, and the Yemeni ministers in Saudi Arabia in the past few days.
The Saudi-Russian talks came only a few days before a quartet meeting scheduled to take place in Jeddah on Thursday between foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US and the UK, according to the Arabic-speaking Al Sharq Al Awsat. That meeting will follow another meeting between Gulf states’ foreign ministers as well as those of the UK and the US on Wednesday.
The intensive Gulf-Western talks aim to give the international community a bigger role in the developments in Yemen, said Cairo-based Yemeni political research Saleem Al Nahdi in an interview with Gulf News. “International community is now divided on Yemen,” Al Nahdi said.
Western media coverage of the human aspect in the conflict has deepened the current predicament due to the siege imposed by Al Houthis and forces loyal to former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh on Yemeni cities like Lahj and Taiz, said analysts.
Yemenis took to the streets against Saleh rule in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring. While Saleh was ousted later, Al Houthis took control of many parts of the country in September 2014. The internationally-recognised government took refuge in Saudi Arabia and later returned to Aden.
In March 2015, the Saudi-led Arab coalition started a military operation to reinstate the government.