U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Muscat on Monday to hold discussions with Houthi rebels, in a new attempt to reach a political solution to war-torn Yemen.
A high-ranking Yemeni official told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Kerry’s visit to Oman was made to recover “lost time” in Yemen’s political negotiations.
The U.S. official is expected to meet with a delegation representing Houthi rebels, headed by Mohammed Abdul Salam. The visit falls within efforts by the outgoing U.S. Administration to reach a political compromise in Yemen, before the end of President Barack Obama’s term on January 20.
Meanwhile, Abdul Salam said the Houthi delegation will meet with the U.S. Secretary of State, adding that the latest road-map presented by U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, “could represent an adequate platform for serious discussions that would guarantee a solution” to the crisis.
In the same context, well-informed sources said that the meeting between Kerry and Houthis’ official spokesperson Abdul Salam will be held in the presence of Oman’s Foreign Affairs Minister Youssef bin Alawi.
For his part, Yemeni President’s Advisor Yassin Makawi said that Kerry would not bring any proposals to end the crisis, adding that there would be no compromise over the necessity to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, the implementation mechanism of the Gulf Initiative and the outcome of the national dialogue.
He added that the U.S. official was seeking to score some achievements in the lost time, noting however that the Yemeni legitimate government “welcomes all efforts and attempts to establish peace in the country, away from the influence of armed militias.”
On the other hand, Yemen’s presidential advisor did not rule out the possibility to resort to military intervention to end the ongoing crisis, stressing that the “legitimate government was looking towards the achievement of comprehensive peace, in which armed militias would not have any role whatsoever.”
By Arafat Madabish