Gulf Arab states urge bigger international role in Yemen

Yemeni soldiers guard the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa on Feb. 6, 2015.

Yemeni soldiers guard the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa on Feb. 6, 2015.

Gulf Arab states have expressed concern about the Iranian influence in Yemen and called for growing international role, a U.S. official said on Friday, hours after the Houthi rebels seized power in Yemen, dissolving the parliament and setting up a presidential council.

But no arrangements were made to contact Tehran about the situation during talks between Kerry and ministers and senior officials from Arab Gulf states, senior State Department official said on Friday after meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“There was a feeling that the international community needed to take a stronger position, either through the U.N. or another multilateral organization,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“There was concern about Iranian influence but no one discussed getting in touch with the Iranians,” the official said, adding that there was also talk about more Security Council meetings on Yemen.

Houthi rebels on Friday issued a series of constitutional decrees during a gathering a the Republican Palace in Sanaa.

One of the decrees mandated the establishment of a transitional national council that would replace Yemen’s parliament.

An amended version of an already drafted constitution will be put to a vote, supporters and members of the Shiite militias told a gathering in Sanaa.

The rebels, backed by Iran and influential members of the former regime of President Abdullah Saleh, have also set a two-year period in which the transition of power would be complete, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The Houthi rebels also announced the formation of a so-called “supreme revolutionary committee” to appoint local committees that will administer local provincial affairs.


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