Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

The Saudi-led coalition has fought Saleh loyalists and the Iran-backed Houthis rebels on behalf of the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi since March 2015.

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.

In 2015 he fled to Saudi Arabia, which used its military force in a bid to place him back in power in Yemen.

"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.

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.

Sanaa has been rocked by an eruption of violence this past week between Saleh's supporters and the Houthi rebels.

The Houthis accused Mr Saleh of betrayal, and vowed to keep up the fight against the Saudi-led coalition.

The Saudis want to restore the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into retreat and then exile by the fighting.




The clash between Saleh's supporters and the Houthis underscores the complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, where war between Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent times.

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

For his part, leader of Huthi, Abdul Malik al-Huthi, has described Saleh's attitude as "sedition" and has been prepared for tribal arbitration, after warning that main beneficiary of this confrontation is Saudi coalition.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said at least 80 people have been killed in this week's clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and Houthis. "The priority has been and still is to confront the forces of aggression".

For his part, Houthi leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi called on Saleh to end what he called "the sectarian strife" that he has instigated, and threatened to take action against his supporters militarily if he does not.

Saleh's GPC party accused the Houthis of failing to honor the truce and claimed in a statement on its website that the Houthis bear responsibility for dragging the country into a civil war.

A statement from Saleh's GPC appealed on Saturday to security and military forces and all public employees to be neutral and not to implement instructions given by the Houthis in all provinces.

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