(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A conference of Yemeni political factions yesterday vowed support for "resistance" forces battling anti-government rebels, while laying a political foundation for the country's future.
"We support this resistance to go on fighting", exiled President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi told about 300 delegates at the close of a three-day meeting in Riyadh.
He was referring to the battle by pro-government forces against Iran-backed Shia Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Houthis, who boycotted the Riyadh talks, have long complained of marginalisation in Yemen.
They seized control of large parts of the country, including the capital Sana'a in September last year.
Their southward push forced Hadi and his government to flee to Riyadh and prompted a Saudi-led coalition in March to launch air strikes against the Houthis.
A closing statement at the conference sought the quicker delivery of supplies to pro-government forces including "logistical equipment and weapons".
It also called for a safe zone where government institutions could resume their activities.
The conference attendees suggested an Arab peacekeeping force to secure Yemen's major cities, with UN Security Council approval, Transport Minister Bader Ba-Salama said.
Hadi said "dialogue is the only way to take Yemen out of its deadlock", but added that any talks with rebels must take into account Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls on the Houthis to relinquish territory they have seized.
The April resolution asked all parties, particularly the Houthis, to adhere to measures including the outcome of an earlier "national dialogue" tasked with drawing up a new constitution.
The Riyadh conference was convened by Hadi and held in conjunction with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.
The final conference declaration spoke of building a "federal state" in Yemen.
Asked at the Riyadh meeting how continued bombing is conducive to the peace process and the delivery of humanitarian aid, GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al Zayani said "the question should be put to the others," a reference to the Houthis.