US envoy to Yemen throws support behind President Hadi
ADEN (Yemen) - The US envoy to Yemen threw his support behind President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after talks in the southern port city of Aden on Monday, saying he remains the "legitimate" leader.
Ambassador Matthew Tueller was the latest high-profile diplomat to travel to Aden, Hadi's base since he fled effective house arrest in the capital last month following a power grab by the Shiite Huthi militia.
"President Hadi remains the legitimate president of Yemen and the key person to ensure that Yemen moves forward on a peaceful and stable path," Tueller told reporters after meeting Hadi.
The United States closed its embassy in Sanaa indefinitely last month and evacuated diplomats and staff due to the worsening security situation.
The Huthis, who had long fought the Sanaa government from their northern stronghold, overran the capital in September and moved on to occupy the seats of power in February.
They named a "presidential council" after Western-backed Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah tendered their resignations in January in protest at what critics branded an attempted coup.
Hadi retracted his resignation shortly after resurfacing in Aden, while Bahah remains under house arrest in the capital.
The Huthis oppose a plan to divide the republic into six federal regions -- a roadmap agreed on during national dialogue stipulated in a peace deal brokered by Gulf neighbours and sponsored by the United Nations.
"The Yemeni people, in electing president Hadi and in participating in the national dialogue conference which he led, have made clear that Yemen's future lies in implementing the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) initiative and the national dialogue outcomes," said Tueller.
He warned that "those who are trying to undermine the national conference outcomes or undermine the GCC initiative are seeking to lead Yemen in a very dangerous path."
"We strongly support those who are seeking to lead Yemen to implementation of the national dialogue outcomes," he added.
Yemen, a key front line in the US war against Al-Qaeda, has been gripped by unrest since longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in early 2012 after a bloody year-long popular uprising.
Aden has turned into Yemen's de facto political and diplomatic centre since Hadi's arrival.
Neighbouring Gulf monarchies have moved their embassies to the southern city after leaving Sanaa due to security concerns.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, also travelled to Aden last week for talks with Hadi aimed at jump-starting reconciliation talks.