Yemen's minority Shiite Houthi fighters have taken up guard at President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s home but stress that they have not toppled him after two days of fighting.
In a statement, the Gulf Arab Foreign Ministers meeting in Saudi Arabia considered the violence in Sana’a on January 20 a “coup d’état”. The GCC also urged the Houthi rebels to surrender control of state institutions.
Besieged Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi is accepting many demands of the Houthi rebels for constitutional change and wider power sharing after they took over his palace and replaced guards outside his private residence in Sana’a, top U.S. Diplomat John Kerry said Wednesday.
In a statement, Hadi said the group had a right to serve in posts in all state institutions, and a draft constitution that has been a source of disagreement between him and the Houthis was open to amendment.
He said the Houthis agreed to withdraw fighters from areas overlooking his palace, his private home and the official residence of the prime minister, as well as a missile base, and had promised to free immediately his chief of staff, whom they have held captive since Saturday.
“The draft constitution is subject to amendments, deletions, streamlining and additions,” said the statement. All sides agreed government and state institutions, schools and universities should rapidly return to work, it added.
On Thursday, authorities in southern Yemen reopened Aden’s air and sea ports, officials said.
Meanwhile, US Navy warships stand ready to respond if needed, Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters Wednesday. “We are continuing to closely monitor the situation in Yemen,” Warren said.
Two American warships are on routine deployment in the Red Sea in the US Central Command area of responsibility, he said.
“The USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry are on station, and between those two warships, there's enough combat power to respond to whatever contingency may come up,” Warren said.
The number of Americans in Yemen is not being revealed, he added, but if a need for evacuation arises, the State Department would handle the effort.
Source: Al Arabiya; Reuters