Yemen president leaves Saudi for US on ‘surprise’ visit

By Murat al-Arifi


Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi on Tuesday left Saudi Arabia for the United States for an unscheduled visit, according to a Yemeni presidential source.

“Hadi left his residence in Riyadh at dawn,” the source said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

The reason for the visit remains unclear.

The source suggested that Hadi may conduct medical checks in the U.S. city of Cleveland during the visit.

Tuesday’s surprise visit came a few days after the Yemeni president returned from the U.S., where he conducted medical checks and attended the meetings of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Hadi has been living in Riyadh since he fled Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa a year earlier.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen.

The violence has devastated Yemen’s public infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation there as one of “the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.