Several local Egyptian news websites reported that ongoing talks were recently held between the Yemeni General People’s Congress (YPGC), which is the political party of ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, as well as foreign diplomats from the UK and the US.
A meeting was held with the former Yemeni foreign minister and a delegation from the YGPC in Cairo, Egyptian journalist Mostafa Bakry confirmed to Daily News Egypt.
Bakry said he attended the meeting despite a disclaimer issued by the YGPC, denying such meetings are taking place.
The privately owned Youm7 press said that a YPGC delegation also met with Lawyers Syndicate head Sameh Ashour, former Press Syndicate head Makram Mohamed Ahmed, former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, Mostafa Bakry and Mohamed Hassanein Heikal.
Bakry, who is editor-in-chief of the weekly private Al-Osboa newspaper, said: “The delegation discussed recent developments of the Yemeni conflict and possible ways to end it. I suggested activating the Security Council resolutions and the GCC initiative.”
However, the YPGC denied any meetings with diplomats abroad or in Cairo, or foreign diplomats, in an official statement on Thursday.
In the media statement, the party leader’s office urged all media outlets to be more accurate when reporting news, and only cite the official source for its statements, which is the “al-moutamar.net” website.
Intensified ground fighting in Yemen has been ongoing since February between Houthi militants and the Saudi-led air forces, following the power grab by Shi’a rebel troops led by Abdul Malik Al-Houthi in the north.
“The suffering of the civilian population has reached unprecedented levels. More than 100 days into the crisis, severe shortages of water, food and fuel continue across the country, together with airstrikes and fighting on the ground,” said Antoine Grand, head of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Yemen in an official statement on Friday. “The last two weeks have seen an intensification of fighting in the southern governorates of Aden and Taiz where it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to reach affected areas, to evacuate the dead and the wounded and to provide life-saving assistance.”
The group have taken over many Yemeni cities and entered the capital Sana’a in September 2014, amidst clashes with the state forces, which left hundreds dead, including civilians.
Unofficial talks have previously taken place with a Houthi delegation in Cairo, according to a Houthi member who told Daily News Egypt in March: “We are working on strengthening the ties strongly between several countries which preserve the community entities and dialogue. Egypt is primary among these stations.”
As ships en route between the GCC and the Mediterranean pass through Yemen’s coastal waters, the country’s security status is crucial for several countries, especially oil exporting ones. However, it has a history of conflict and division attempts between the north and the south.