Feb. 24-March 2: Parties wrangle over location of talks

Editor's note: this week's press review was written by freelance journalist Mohammed Ali Kalfood, filling in for Shuaib Almosawa. Last week’s news coverage spotlighted the issue of relocating the UN-led political talks outside of Yemen’s capital, which has sharply divided the parties involved.

Backed by GCC states, President ‘Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi—who fled house arrest in Sanʻa and established himself in the southern port city of Aden last weekhas called for moving negotiations to a “safe place.” The UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has since been trying to talk the involved political parties, including the Houthis, into relocating the sessions.

The Houthi group and the General People’s Congress party (GPC), along with four other political parties, reportedly refused the proposal of relocating the talks outside of Sanʻa. The Islah Party, on the other hand, welcomed this proposal. It was not clear to where exactly the sessions would be relocated, but Aden, Taʻiz, and three other Arab countries were reportedly the possible destinations.

Since arriving in Aden, President Hadi has received representatives of several states that closed their embassies in Sanʻa last month. US Ambassador Matthew Tueller met with Hadi on Monday. In statements to press following the meeting, Ambassador Tueller reiterated Washington's position that Hadi remains the legitimate president of the republic, and that the GCC Initiative and National Dialogue outcomes must still be implemented.

While the political process has been stalled, the Houthis—who took over power in Sanʻa in January—Continued to take action against their local rivals. The Houthi group was accused of staging crackdowns and abducting members of the Islah party in Sanʻa, which is seen as the main rival to Ansar Allah. Also, the group reportedly killed six people and kidnapped 108 others during February.