The Gulf Cooperation Council is hosting talks with all Yemeni sides in Riyadh despite the Houthi rebels’ refusal to attend.
Qatar has strongly condemned Houthi drone and missile attacks that targeted key energy and water desalination facilities in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
The attacks were claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and resulted in no casualties.
“Qatar has expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of targeting civilian, economic and vital facilities in several cities in the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said the Gulf state’s foreign ministry (MOFA).
Qatar said that the attacks constituted a “dangerous sabotage act that contradicts all international norms and laws”.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy said that an attack was first carried out on Saturday on the on the petroleum products distribution terminal in Jizan. This was followed with two drone attacks on Sunday morning on the Yanbu natural gas plant, and facilities of Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (YASREF).
Other targets also included a water desalination plant in Al-Shaqeeq, a power station in Dhahran Al Janub, and a gas facility in Khamis Mushait.
The attacks have led to material damage and a temporary reduction in the YASREF refinery’s production. Saudi Arabia’s news agency (WAS) also reported damages amongst civilian cars and homes.
Reports state that the Saudi-led coalition had also intercepted and destroyed nine drones that targeted economic facilities in the southern part of Saudi Arabia.
Houthi rebels have been carrying out attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the war between the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed rebels continues to take place.
Last week, the GCC announced plans to host talks with all Yemeni sides, including the Houthi group, in Riyadh starting from 29 March. The rebels said that they will not be attending the talks in Saudi Arabia and would only attend dialogue hosted in a neutral country.
Last year, the Houthi’s said that they were willing to participate in negotiations in Qatar.
The Saudi-led coalition launched its first military attacks in Yemen against the Houthi rebels in 2015, backing the internationally recognised Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.
Hadi’s administration was forced out of the capital Sanaa in late 2014 as the Houthis captured the port city of Al-Hudaydah.
Following many failed ceasefires, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen as the country suffers from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The UN said that 24.1 million people, 80% of Yemen’s population, are in need of humanitarian aid and protection. More than three million people have also been displaced from their homes since 2015.
At least 18,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed or wounded by airstrikes in Yemen since the beginning of the war, according to a UN report cited by the Associated Press (AP) in September last year.”