x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE and Saudi Arabia hold talks with Yemen's Al Islah party

It comes as the dynamics of Yemen's war have become more complex with the collapse earlier this month of the alliance between Houthi rebels and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (C) and Al Islah chairman Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Yidoumi (R) in Riyadh on December 13, 2017. Mohamed Al Hammadi / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (C) and Al Islah chairman Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Yidoumi (R) in Riyadh on December 13, 2017. Mohamed Al Hammadi / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have held talks in Riyadh with Yemen's Islamist Al Islah party.

It comes as the dynamics of Yemen's war have become more complex with the collapse earlier this month of the alliance between Houthi rebels and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh was killed on Monday last week by the Iran-backed rebels who have since gone after members of his General People's Congress party. The two sides had joined together to fight pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE.

During the meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed and Prince Mohammed reviewed the latest developments in Yemen with Al Islah chairman Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Yidoumi and secretary-general Abdulwahab Ahmad Al Anisi. The four men also discussed efforts to achieve security and stability for the Yemeni people, according to state news agency Wam.

Al Islah fighters have been fighting alongside forces loyal to Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in Marib province, east of Sanaa, for three years.

The war in Yemen began in September 2014 when the Houthis captured Sanaa before later advancing south and forcing Mr Hadi's internationally recognised government to relocate to the southern city of Aden. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 and has since helped pro-government forces to retake much of the south. The Houthis still hold Sanaa, however, along with large areas of the north.

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Maged Al Da'arri, a political analyst and the editor of Yemen's Hadramout newspaper, said Sheikh Mohammed and Prince Salman met the Al Islah party leaders to provide them with the opportunity to prove their good intentions in terms of working with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"Mohammed Bin Salman had met Al Islah party leaders two months ago and he met them again yesterday with [Sheikh] Mohammed bin Zayed," Mr Al Da'arri told The National on Thursday.

"That means that the Gulf leaders are trying to combine the different sides in Yemen to work collaboratively in order to be able to liberate the provinces that are still held by the Houthis."

Al Islah has close links with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed as a terror group by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.