Four Gulf countries have relocated their embassies from the Yemeni capital Sanaa to Aden, where President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fled last week after being deposed. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates moved their embassies just a day after Saudi Arabia and Qatar announced that their embassy had been shifted to Aden. Egypt is expected to follow in the coming days.
Sanaa has been under the control of Houthi rebels for months.President Hadi escaped from house arrest in the city just last week after resigning from his position over a month ago. He was pressured to resign amid a deteriorating political and security situation in the country. When Hadi reached Aden, he released a statement stating that he is still the President of Yemen. He further declared all political decisions made since September invalid and illegal.
Saudi officials cited security concerns for shifting their embassy out of Sanaa. The Saudi ambassador to the crisis-hit country said: "The security situation is calm in Aden and it's very difficult for us to resume our embassy operations in Sanaa." Yet, according to many analysts, the shift to Aden shows that Gulf countries see Hadi as the leader of Yemen.
The United Nations has also pledged its support for Hadi, with its envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar saying that he remains the constitutional president of the country. Political negotiations led by the UN were called off after most of the country's political parties backed out.
Hadi told the UN envoy that he wishes for a solution through dialogue, but refused to participate in talks unless they are shifted out of Sanaa. This was echoed by the Secretary-General of the Justice and Building Party AbdulAziz Jubari, who said that the talks must take place in a place where there is no threat from militants.
Houthis are a Shiite Muslim group who have been at war with the Yemeni government for over a decade. Feeling marginalized by the Sunni Muslim government, they entered Sanaa in September in a move that resulted in more than 300 casualties. The government and the Houthis signed a ceasefire, but the rebels were able to pressure Hadi into resigning from his post after he refused to agree to a number of their political demands.