Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

Street fighting in the war-wracked country comes amid heightened regional tensions, most notably after Houthi rebels early last month launched a missile that was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

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.

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

"Disagreements (between the two sides) can be settled through negotiation, and invaders and enemies will get the most out of the sedition", he said, urging Saleh to abandon such "irresponsible" and "suspicious" moves.

Officials working at the TV station say Houthis raided its headquarters.

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

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he was ready for a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.

"The meeting calls for turning a new page with all the political sides. and to form a broad national coalition that will lay the foundations for a new era and unify everyone against the coup militia", the statement said.

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The head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

The Saudi-led coalition, consisting of several Arab-Sunni states, intervened in neighbouring Yemen to push back Houthi rebels and has since been trying to reinstate the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

"It is not unusual or surprising that Saleh turns back on a partnership he never believed in", the group's political bureau said in a statement.

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

He also points up that Saleh's move represents a turning point in the situation inside the country, in which the tables have been turned against the Houthis, and the situation has returned to the status-quo prior to September 2014, when the Houthis seized chunks of the capital from former president Hadi.

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

"The GPC appealed to the army and security forces to remain neutral in the conflict".

In March 2015, warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and other allies began airstrikes on rebel positions in Yemen.

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