UN Urges Yemeni Parties to Resume Talks

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Armed Yemeni tribal members gather in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on February 23, 2015 as they prepare to mobilize.AFP.

Published Thursday, February 26, 2015

The UN Security Council on Wednesday called for the stepping up of UN-brokered talks on ending a growing crisis in Yemen after President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi's escape from house arrest.

The Western-backed Hadi and his Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations on January 22 and were placed under house arrest by the Houthi militia in Sanaa. But over the weekend Hadi managed to flee the capital and resurfaced in the southern port city of Aden.

The 15-member council demanded in a unanimous statement that the Houthis "immediately, unconditionally and safely" release Bahah, members of the cabinet and others still under house arrest.

Highlighting Hadi's willingness to take part in the UN talks, the council "urged all parties to accelerate these negotiations" led by UN envoy Jamal Benomar.

Hadi on Wednesday met an envoy of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which branded the Houthi takeover of Sanaa a coup.

The Security Council called on all parties in Yemen, including the Houthis, to resolve differences "through dialogue and consultation, reject acts of violence to achieve political goals and refrain from provocation."

Houthis stormed Sanaa in September and tightened their grip on official government. On February 6, they dissolved parliament and and established a “transitional council” headed by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a leading figure in the Houthi movement.

On Tuesday, Hadi has retracted his resignation after escaping house arrest in the Houthi militia-controlled capital, and called all measures taken by the Houthis "null and illegitimate."

An aide to Hadi said he had sent a letter withdrawing the resignation to Yemen's parliament, which had never met to formally accept it.

"I have withdrawn my resignation which I tendered to your esteemed parliament," Hadi wrote in the letter.

In the letter, he urged lawmakers to cooperate with him to "salvage the salvageable and to normalize the security and economic situation in all provinces."

Hadi also called on government ministers to "head immediately to Aden to convene," the presidential aide said.

Meanwhile, the Houthis said on Tuesday Hadi has lost his legitimacy as head of state and warned anyone against dealing with him, saying he was being sought as a fugitive of justice.

International alarm has been growing over Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia and is a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda.

Yemen has fallen into turmoil since a 2012 uprising forced out autocratic president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been in power for 33 years, after a year of unrest. Following Saleh’s overthrow, the Houthis, al-Qaeda, separatists from the former independent South Yemen, and tribesmen have been fighting each other to gain power and territory in the fragile state.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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