Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

Yemen rebel leader Ali Abdullah Saleh seeks dialogue amid escalating violence

Former President Saleh's General People's Congress party, accused the Houthis of failing to honor the truce and said in a statement on its website that the Houthis bear responsibility for dragging the country into a civil war. Hadi ran uncontested, won a landslide victory and was expected to resign two years later, but failed to do so amid increasing pressure from the Houthi rebels.

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.

He says a new page must be opened in relations (with Saudi Arabia) and neighborly ties restored, putting an end to all (the animosity) that has taken place and that amicable relations can resume once there is a cease-fire (with the Saudi-led coalition) and their blockade of Yemeni ports and airports is lifted.

The two groups had been fighting the Hadi government for almost three years under an uneasy alliance.

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Violence in Sanaa has left at least 40 fighters dead or wounded since Wednesday, rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi said, as Saleh loyalists and rebel fighters continued to clash on Saturday afternoon.

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

A Houthi spokesman was quick to denounce Saleh's comments, accusing the former president of staging a "coup".

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.

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

He added that some speculators claim that Saleh's statements are actually a proposition by Saudi Arabia to roll down the hostilities in a manner which would save face. There is in fact no Yemen as a country: "It has been torn apart". "The reserves they accumulated during the fat years are melting like a snowball in the sun", he explained.

The UN urged the coalition in a statement Saturday to "fully lift" the blockade on Yemen's red sea ports saying that partial lifting only "slows the collapse toward a massive humanitarian tragedy costing millions of lives".

The coalition has also been accused of committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks on residential areas in cities controlled by the rebel forces.

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