The party of Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally of Houthi rebels, on Tuesday welcomed UN-brokered peace talks due to open in Switzerland at the weekend.
The General People’s Congress said it had not yet received a formal invitation from the United Nations but the UN envoy met with party representatives in the Houthi-held capital in late May as part of his efforts to convene the Geneva talks.
Saleh himself is under UN sanctions for his support for the Houthi rebels and did not take part in the meetings, party sources said.
The GPC “welcomes holding the Geneva conference for consultations between Yemeni political components without any preconditions from any group, with goodwill and under the patronage of the United Nations,” its almotamar.net website said.
Saleh, himself proposed Geneva as the venue for the talks as a compromise between rebel-held Sanaa and the Saudi capital Riyadh, where exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has taken refuge.
His loyalists have been repeatedly targeted alongside the rebels in a Saudi-led air war launched in support of Hadi on March 26.
On Tuesday, coalition air strikes hit pro-Saleh troops and rebels across the capital before dawn, witnesses said.
Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the defence ministry which they jointly control.