(AA) – UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar left Sanaa on Tuesday for a “brief” visit to Riyadh, Yemen’s state-run news agency has reported.
Benomar will hold talks with Saudi and Gulf officials on developments in Yemen and the progress of ongoing national dialogue talks, the Saba news agency, which is under the control of the Shiite Houthi group, reported.
Benomar’s office did not respond to Anadolu Agency’s requests for comment.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers will meet on Thursday in Riyadh to discuss Yemen’s political crisis following a pledge by Saudi Arabia to sponsor talks between the fractious country’s rival forces.
It remains unclear whether Benomar will attend the foreign ministers’ meeting.
The GCC announced Tuesday that the foreign ministers of its six member states would meet at the council’s Riyadh headquarters to discuss “the Yemeni crisis and the dangers posed by terrorism to regional security.”
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia said it would host GCC-sponsored talks between Yemen’s political forces.
The announcement came in a statement by the Saudi royal court, which was issued at the request of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, whose rule was sorely undermined by last September’s takeover of capital Sanaa by Shiite Houthi militants.
Last month, Hadi fled Sanaa – where he had been under house arrest by the Houthis for weeks – to the southern city of Aden.
Upon his arrival, Hadi dismissed as “null” and “illegitimate” all recent Houthi-issued decrees. He also wrote to parliament withdrawing a resignation he had tendered earlier.
In early 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 neighboring Gulf countries – which described it as a “coup against constitutional legitimacy.”