Yemen’s Gulf neighbours on Saturday condemned what they termed a “coup” in Sanaa after the Shiite Houthi militia dissolved parliament and installed a presidential council to run the country.
“The Houthi coup marks a grave and unacceptable escalation… and endangers the security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen,” the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said in a statement from its Riyadh headquarters.The Saudi-led GCC, which also includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, had urged the Houthis to pull out of Sanaa, which the militia overran in September.
On Saturday, the Sunni monarchies said their own security was linked to that of Yemen and vowed to take “all the necessary measures to defend their interests”, without elaborating.
The GCC called on the UN Security Council to intervene and put an end to the “coup which has placed Yemen and its people in a dark tunnel”.
Late Saturday, the UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, returned to Sanaa and resumed contact with political players to find a way out of the deepening crisis caused by the rebel takeover.
Last week, Benomar left suddenly for Saudi Arabia, where he is believed to have held consultations with visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Yemen has been riven by instability since an Arab Spring-inspired uprising that forced autocratic president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2012.
Saleh, who stepped down in a UN- and GCC-backed deal to ease the crisis, has been accused of backing the Houthis, as has Shiite-dominated Iran.
The turmoil has raised fears that Yemen, which lies next to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, could become a failed state.
The Houthis dissolved parliament on Friday and set up a five-member presidential council to form a transitional government to govern for two years.
The steps announced in a “constitutional declaration” aim to fill a power vacuum after President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah resigned last month.
They tendered their resignations after the Houthis, who swept down from their mountainous northern stronghold to overrun Sanaa, last month seized the presidential palace and key government buildings.
They also abducted a key Hadi aide in protest at a draft constitution that would divide impoverished Yemen into six federal regions and which they said further marginalised their community.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)
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