Al Mukalla: The Islah party has said it has no links with Muslim Brotherhood and fully supports the Saudi-led coalition military operations against the Iran-backed Al Houthis in Yemen, the party’s leader said.

In an interview with the Saudi-owned Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, Mohammad Al Yadoumi said the Yemeni party was moving to review its stands on key issues after completely defeating Al Houthis, stating it has no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and it “highly appreciates” the Saudi-led coalition’s pivotal role in assisting Yemenis to push back Al Houthis’ military expansion.

“We have repeatedly stressed the Yemeni Congregation for Reform [Islah] has no organisational or political ties with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al Yadoumi said, adding the party’s priority was standing by the internationally-recognised government and the Saudi-led coalition in their fight against Al Houthis.

In December, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman held rare talks with Al Yadoumi and his deputy Abdul Wahab Al Anisi in Riyadh.

Al Yadoumi said the meeting was constructive and the party decided to approach the UAE and Saudi leaders to clear confusion and misconceptions about the its involvement in anti-Al Houthi operations and its alleged links with the Brotherhood.

“The meeting was a prelude to more constructive and fruitful meetings in future that will enhance the unity of pro-government forces and the Arab coalition.”

When Al Houthis seized the capital Sana’a in late 2014, thousands of Islah supporters were arrested, tortured, intimidated and forced to flee Al Houthi-held territories.

Al Houthis looted and closed down the party’s offices, Al Yadoumi said.

On December 4, Al Houthis killed the ousted president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and subsequently launched a major crackdown against his supporters and members of his party who backed his brief military uprising in Sana’a. Al Yadoumi advised Saleh’s supporters to desert the Al Houthis’ camp and join Yemeni forces.

“We call on and encourage members the General People’s Congress in Yemen to come together under the banner of the legitimacy,” he said, referring to Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his government.

The Islah party is the second largest political party in Yemen after the GPC, Saleh’s party.

Critics have attributed a military stalemate on some fronts to the party’s reluctance to engage in fighting against Al Houthis.