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

"I call upon the brothers in neighbouring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighbourliness", Mr Saleh said in a televised speech.

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

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.

A source in Saleh's forces said Houthi fighters were positioned around the residences of two of the ex-president's nephews.

"It demands the anti-government forces in Yemen to desist from attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", the FO added.

Thursday night's violence in Sanaa came 24 hours after clashes at the Saleh Mosque in the capital killed nine Houthi rebels and five Saleh supporters.

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.




According to the Saudi Press Agency, Maliki said the "control of these types of weapons by terrorist organisations, including Al-Houthi armed militias, represents a threat to regional and worldwide security".

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, tells VOA that former president Saleh has a "strong political instinct" and that he made his move against the Houthis at a time when the situation on the ground is favorable. Saleh has accused the Houthis of seeking to monopolise power and the rebels have accused the strongman of treason over his suspected contacts with Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh's remarks.

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".

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.

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.

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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