Riyadh meet aims at 'retaking' Yemen from Houthis: Hadi
Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said that an ongoing Saudi-hosted national dialogue conference aimed to "retake the Yemeni state" from Shiite Houthi militant group and allied former President Ali Abdullah Saleh Anadolu Agency reported
"[Sunday's conference] is the first step towards retaking the Yemeni state after Saleh and the Houthis staged a coup against [constitutional] legitimacy," Hadi said during the conference's opening session, held in Saudi capital Riyadh.
Hadi went on to thank Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military campaign against the Houthis and Saleh in Yemen, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for "swiftly intervening to reclaim legitimacy" in Yemen.
A Yemeni dialogue conference, which Hadi had called for, kicked off Sunday in Riyadh with the participation of Yemeni warring factions except for the Houthis.
For his part, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the newly-appointed UN envoy to Yemen, called for an extension to a five-day humanitarian truce in Yemen - which expires Sunday evening - for another five days.
Ahmed, who attended Sunday's conference, called on "all parties" in Yemen to return to the negotiations' table "without any preconditions."
Sunday's conference, chaired by Hadi, is the first of its kind since the conflict in Yemen broke out last September, when Houthis overran capital Sanaa and took control of state institutions.
Abdulaziz Jabari, the conference's chief organizer, said in his opening speech that the meeting was aimed at "deposing the Houthis' regime" and at implementing the outcome of previous national dialogue talks between Yemen's political groups.
Despite objections to holding the conference in Riyadh by the Houthis and Saleh, Saudi Arabia managed to bring together all of Yemen's warring factions, including leading members of Saleh's party, but not the Houthis.
The Houthi group maintains that they'll participate in a UN-sponsored dialogue in Geneva, whose date has yet to be officially announced.
Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have since sought to extend their influence southward to other parts of the country.
On March 25, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive military campaign targeting Houthi positions across Yemen.
Riyadh says its air campaign comes in response to Hadi's appeals for military intervention against the Houthis.
Hadi fled to Riyadh in March after Houthi forces attacked his residence in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, from which he had hoped to reinstate his embattled presidency.