Yemen rebel leader to Saudis: Let's 'turn the page'

Yemen rebel leader to Saudis: Let's 'turn the page'
Yemen rebel leader to Saudis: Let's 'turn the page'
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03 December, 2017

Saleh and the Iran-backed Huthis, also known as Ansar Allah, have accused each other of inciting Wednesday's unrest. Arab media is reporting that the former president's supporters have gained control of key government installations in the capital, including the defense ministry, the interior ministry and Sana'a Airport.

Later in the day, Saleh said he was ready for a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition pounding Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.

The two groups are fighting a Saudi-led coalition that has intervened in a 2-1/2 year Yemeni civil war with a view to restoring the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

"The General People's Congress and its allies hold Ansar Allah fully responsible for every drop of blood shed among the Yemenis. and warn against all acts that, rather than serve national unity, threaten our internal unity and cohesion", the party said in a statement.

Saleh made the announcement on Saturday on Yemen Today TV as clashes continued in the capital Sanaa between forces loyal to the former president Saleh and Houthi rebels.

"We will deal with them in a positive way and what happened to Yemen is enough", he added.

Saleh, who was forced to step down by a 2011 mass uprising against his 33 years in office, said Yemen's parliament, which is dominated by his GPC party, was the only legitimate power in the country and was ready for talks with the coalition.

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Tension between Saleh and the Houthis has been rising in recent months.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Mr Saleh's change of stance.

The coalition accuses Saleh, who heads the General People's Congress party, of betraying his Arab neighbors by joining forces with the Houthi rebels.

Residents of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, are used to the sounds of gunfire, but in the last four days they've had to adjust to new faultlines in the conflict. There has been no official word on casualties but the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that dozens were killed and hundreds were wounded in the fighting.

"Air defence intercepted a ballistic missile, fired by the Houthis towards Khamis Mushait", Arabiya said on its Twitter account, without giving details.

Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of the rebels, called on Saleh to "show more wisdom and maturity" in a separate statement.

Yemen's war has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, caused a cholera outbreak infecting almost one million people and led the country on the brink of starvation.


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