Former Yemen rebel ally Saleh calls for talks with Saudi Arabia

Posted December 03, 2017

He said that the Houthi militias had been seeking "in various ways to reproduce the model of the mandate of the Iranian jurist, and bet on the decision of Yemen and its sovereignty to the malignant evil and mischief in Qom and Tehran".

The comments, carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news channel, came after Saleh said he was ready to turn a new page with the coalition if it stopped what he described as its aggression on Yemen and lifted restrictions on transportation.

The clashes, which erupted late Wednesday near the Saleh Mosque in the capital, killed nine Houthi rebels and five supporters of former president Saleh, according to multiple medical sources.

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels, as his supporters fought the rebels in the capital, Sana'a.

Together they have fought the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 aiming to restore the fugitive President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Stressing that Yemen's interests lie in avoiding sedition, the Houthi leader called on citizens and tribal fighters to focus on the battle against the invading Saudi regime and stay away from any provocative acts. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

The coalition, which has fought Saleh and the Iran-backed Houthis since 2015, last month imposed a total blockade on the impoverished country after a rebel missile was shot down near Riyadh.

The Saudi-led coalition responded to Saleh's statement saying that it recognised the efforts of his General People's Congress (GPC) political party to rid Yemen of the evils of "sectarian terrorist militias", Saudi state media reported.

He told Yemenis all across the country that if they support him, "to defend the nation, the republic and the revolution".

However, the Houthis were less open to Mr Saleh's idea.

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Saleh agreed to leave presidency in 2012, n 33 years in front of Yemen, after months of popular protests and global pressure (including that of its neighbours) to prevent anor civil war being unleashed as in Libya or Syria.

Saleh called for a joint ceasefire to be agreed on by his loyalists and the Houthi militia, after clashes entered their fourth day and hae resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people.

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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