The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait will reopen their Yemeni embassies in the southern city of Aden instead of the capital Sanaa, the two countries’ state news agencies said on Friday.
Sanaa was captured in September by the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi militia, which placed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi under house arrest and forced him to announce his resignation. Arab and Western states this month evacuated their Sanaa embassies.
Parliament never approved the resignation, and on Sunday Hadi fled to Aden where he has set up a new seat of power.
An aide to Hadi said on Thursday that Yemen’s neighbour Saudi Arabia, the Sunni-ruled main Gulf Arab power, was moving its ambassador to Aden.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the UAE had made its decision “in order to entrench constitutional legitimacy in Yemen, embodied by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government”, according to WAM news agency.
The ascendancy of the Houthis is viewed with alarm by the Gulf’s mostly Sunni Muslim rulers.
The Gulf Cooperation Council has denounced the Houthi takeover as a coup and fears Shi’ite Iran may gain influence on the peninsula by backing the group.
The prospect of rival centres of power competing for control of Yemen has raised fears that the impoverished and heavily-armed country may be heading for civil war.