Gulf states call for Yemen reconstruction meeting after peace deal

RIYADH (Reuters) - Gulf Arab states called on Thursday for an international reconstruction conference for Yemen after any deal to end its civil war, which has killed 6,000 people and caused widespread damage to the country's economy and infrastructure. The call came in a statement by Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at the conclusion of a summit meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh. It was read out by GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. Yemeni warring parties are due to gather in Switzerland next week for United Nations-sponsored peace talks. "The council (GCC) members called for an international conference for Yemen reconstruction after the parties reach the aspired political solution," Zayani said in the statement broadcast on Saudi state television. He said such a program would be done in accordance with a "practical program to rehabilitate the Yemeni economy and to ease its merger into the Gulf economies". Yemen has been ravaged by nearly nine months of civil war. An alliance of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia intervened in March to stop the expansion of Iran-allied Houthi forces and to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. A seven-day ceasefire is expected to take effect when the peace talks commence on December 15. Yemen's new foreign minister, appointed by Hadi last week, said on Wednesday the ceasefire would be automatically renewed if the Houthis abided by it. (Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Dominic Evans and Gareth Jones)

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