By Ali Jawad
A delegation from Yemen’s Shia Houthi militia group arrived in Baghdad on Monday to hold talks with Iraqi officials about the ongoing conflict in war-torn Yemen, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, ministry spokesman Ahmed Gamal said delegation members planned to meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and a number of politicians during the visit.
"The delegation is comprised of Houthi negotiators who took part in recent UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait [between Yemen’s warring camps]," he said.
Yemeni sources told Anadolu Agency that the visit was part of ongoing efforts by the Houthis to win recognition for a "governing council" that was recently unveiled by the Houthis and their main ally, the General People’s Congress (GPC) party of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
According to the sources, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on speaking with media, the Houthi delegation also plans to visit Lebanon and Iran as part of a wider tour of the region.
The same sources also said that GPC representatives had refused to join the Houthi delegation due to differences between the two groups.
The sources did not elaborate.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman, for his part, called on Yemen’s warring rivals to resolve the conflict in their country through dialogue.
"The Yemeni people should be allowed to decide the government that represents them," he said.
Yemen has been ravaged by civil war since late 2014, when Houthi rebels overran capital Sanaa and a number of other provinces, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.
The conflict escalated last year when Saudi Arabia launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.
Earlier this month, UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait between the Yemeni government and the Houthis broke down without having achieved any tangible breakthroughs.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.