Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition

Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition

Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition

For coalition, former president betrayed Arabs by joining Huthi, a militia that emerged at end of last century to improve living conditions of ZaydĂ­ minority (a branch of Shi'a Islam that follows one-third of Yemenis) and that Saudi Arabia considers an Inst Rumeno of his rival Iran. It closed Yemen's borders and shut access to its sea and air ports on November 6 in response to a missile attack launched by the Houthis that targeted Riyadh's global airport.

He fought six wars against the Houthis when he was president, but joined forces with them to take over the capital in 2014.

Saleh went on to denounce the Houthi militia, which he accuses of being responsible for the humanitarian disaster inside the country, and he insisted that the Yemeni people are standing up for themselves to get rid of them.

Citing the restricted access to his country, Saleh said Saturday in a televised address on Yemen Today TV that he is open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition.

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.

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

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.

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The United Nations has warned that the country faces mass starvation unless the Saudi-led coalition allows more food aid to enter the impoverished country. 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.

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

The head of the Houthi's Ansarullah group, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has described Saleh's change of heart as "sedition", and appealed to him to show more wisdom and maturity.

The Houthis retaliated to the Saleh advance by deploying four tanks on the streets of Sana'a in order to intimidate and terrorize the people and dissuade them from backing the former president.

However, in a statement, Saleh's party, the GPC, ordered their supporters to defy Houthi's orders and to "defend their homeland, their revolution, and their unity".

According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country's population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.

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