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GCC secretary general visits Yemen for first time in eight years

 

GCC Secretary General Jasem Albudaiwi is in Yemen on an official visit to the city of Aden, the first such undertaking by the group’s head in eight years.

Photos and a video posted by the Yemeni Foreign Ministry showed Mr Albudaiwi arriving at Aden International Airport on a Saudi coalition C-130 Hercules plane.

In his meeting with Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, Mr Albudaiwi discussed the latest developments in the country’s economy, as the Aden-based central bank continues with reforms following a deposit by the Saudi government of $1billion earlier this year.

The reforms are related to issues of “governance, transparency and enhancing banking supervision”, the central bank’s Deputy Governor for Banking Supervision, Mansour Rageh, told The National earlier.

The last visit by the head of the GCC to Yemen was made by Mr Albudaiwi’s predecessor, Abdullatif Al Zayani, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the southern city of Aden in February 2015.

The civil war began in September 2014, when Houthi forces took over the capital city Sanaa.

Mr Al Zayani’s visit in 2015 came a few days after former Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi managed to reach Aden from Sanaa, breaking the house arrest imposed on him by the Iran-backed Houthi militia following their takeover of the capital.

GCC reaffirms support for Yemeni peace initiatives aimed at ending conflict
For years, the GCC, including Oman and Kuwait, has been a mediator between the country’s warring sides in an attempt to bring them back on the negotiating table.

In April, Saudi Arabia started peace talks with the Houthis in Sanaa to try to revive a nationwide truce and restart the political process.

Hopes of a breakthrough were raised after the kingdom’s rapprochement with Iran in March.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, visited the city of Marib, east of Sanaa, and met a member of the Presidential Leadership Council and the Governor of Marib province.

It was the first visit by the UN envoy to the city of Marib, which is under the control of the internationally recognised Yemeni government.

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