Yemen Quartet to Discuss Houthi Ballistic Missile Attack

Houthi rebels shout slogans during a rally in Yemen’s Sana’a. (AFP)
A meeting of the quartet countries on Yemen, which brings together the Foreign Ministers of the US, UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia, will be held in London on Tuesday afternoon with the participation of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Oman.

A British Foreign Ministry spokeswoman informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the UK supports diplomatic efforts led by the UN in Yemen and the security situation will be reviewed in light of the recent ballistic missile strike on Saudi Arabia.

“The UK will continue to press for humanitarian and commercial access to be restored to all ports, so that the already dire humanitarian situation does not deteriorate further,” she reiterated.

Other sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not be attending the meeting and the US will be represented by the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

The meeting will not result in a new initiative, but rather focus on the recent measures of the UN special envoy. It will focus on the “resumption of the cessation of hostilities, some specific confidence building measures that can alleviate the humanitarian suffering and the return to the negotiation table in order to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.”

The Houthis’ firing of a ballistic missile against Saudi Arabia in early November sparked regional and international outcry. The missile was intercepted and no one was injured in the incident.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen showed several evidence and pictures that indicate a match between Houthis’ and Iranian armaments, as well as some weapons previously used by Houthis and Saleh.

Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al Jabir stated that, backed by Iran, Houthis had created political chaos in Yemen.

He added that this will impede reaching a political solution based on the Gulf Initiative, outcomes of the National Dialogue and UN Resolution 2216.

“Saudi Arabia and the coalition are preparing for the humanitarian operations plan, which will be announced maybe over the next few days,” he revealed.

Al Jabir was speaking at a conference on Yemen’s cultural heritage and humanitarian aid held at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

He said that Houthi militias are “destroying” Yemen’s cultural history, adding that they had transformed cultural sites into military facilities and engaged in the illegal trafficking of artifacts.

“The Houthis are … a threat to the culture and heritage,” Al Jabir told the attendees.

He confirmed that international efforts should be united to preserve the heritage and ensure artifacts are not stolen and sold in the black market.

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