A source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry denied on Tuesday rumours relating to tensions existing in between Yemen and GCC countries, noting that the Friends of Yemen’s meeting relocation to London as opposed to Riyahd (Saudi Arabia) should be understood as a mere technical rearrangement, nothing more.
Officials both in Yemen and across the GCC countries have been keen to play down reports of tensions, affirming that their main focus remained to enable Yemen to move past its over-lapping crises in order to promote stability in the region.
Media reports have claimed of late that political frictions in between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the Muslim Brotherhood had spilled over onto Yemen, with both powers competing for influence in the impoverished nation.
Writing for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Khaled Fattah noted in an analysis, “As tensions escalate between Riyadh and Doha, Yemen’s central government is caught between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Qatar appeals to a number of actors within Yemen’s political arena because of its deeper pockets and less historical baggage in Yemen, which positions it well to mediate various local conflicts.” He added, “Saudi Arabia’s geographical proximity, wealth, and political weight render its influence in Yemen significant—and inescapable—and it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.”
Regardless of such realities, Saudi sources are adamant the KSA will remain a staunch supporter of Yemen “security and stability,” emphasizing, “The GCC will provide a lot of political and financial aid to Yemen.”
Yemen Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi met on Tuesday with several foreign dignitaries in order to prepare for the Friends of Yemen meeting, due to be held in London on April 29. The minister called on all of Yemen’s partners to actively commit to rebuilding the country.