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Houthis go to China: Yemen's rebel delegation discuss peace-deal Open in fullscreen

Robert Cusack

Houthis go to China: Yemen's rebel delegation discuss peace-deal

The delegation flew to Beijing for a three-day visit [Masira TV]

Date of publication: 1 December, 2016

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A delegation of Yemeni rebels made a three-day trip to Beijing this week in order to discuss stability in the country.
A delegation of Yemeni rebels made a three-day trip to Beijing this week in order to discuss stability in the country, as a US-backed ceasefire fell apart last week.

Yemen's Masirah TV reports that the Chinese Foreign Ministry hosted a dinner in honour of the delegation from Ansar Allah, a rebel group led by the Houthis.

The delegation included Hamza al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi delegation at recent peace talks in Geneva; Mahdi al-Mashat, a party representative and Mohammad Abd al-Salam, a spokesperson for the rebel group.

According to official reports, the two parties met Director-General Deng Li to discuss the ongoing conflict, after a US-brokered peace deal broke down after only 48 hours. The US-backed Saleh government said they had not been made a part of the deal and had no plans to stick to its terms.

China is increasingly looking to the Middle East as an important hub for its mega-investment project in international infrastructure – the so-called "Silk Road Economic Belt".

Deng last hosted Kuwait's Ambassador to China, Samih Johar Hayat, on November 27 to discuss China's project, which involves improving transport and logistics links across Asia in order to improve China's access to the world's commodities.

Beijing also previously hosted a representative from Oman on October 14, the day after Muscat announced plans for a peace agreement for its southern neighbour.

Questions also remain unanswered about China's involvement in the Yemen conflict. It is currently allied with Iran, which supports the Houthi rebels, but also does not want to be drawn into a conflict against a United States' backed government.

China is a large exporter of weapons to the Gulf, especially for weaponised drones.

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