Yemen's Houthis: Saleh's overture to Saudi 'a coup'

Yemen's Houthis: Saleh's overture to Saudi 'a coup'

He also points up that Saleh's move represents a turning point in the situation inside the country, in which the tables have been turned against the Houthis, and the situation has returned to the status-quo prior to September 2014, when the Houthis seized chunks of the capital from former president Hadi.

The comments, carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news channel, came after Saleh said he was ready to turn a new page with the coalition if it stopped what he described as its aggression on Yemen and lifted restrictions on transportation.

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

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.

"I call on our brothers and the Arab coalition to halt their aggression, allow access to medical and relief aid, open airports and we will turn the page", Saleh said in a televised speech.

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.

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said all those who have identified a clear position in support of the popular uprising aimed at ending the coup and the restoration of the state "will all be partners in the present and future of Yemen".


The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Mr Saleh's change of stance.

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

Residents of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, are used to the sounds of gunfire, but in the last four days they've had to adjust to new faultlines in the conflict.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

But the head of the Houthis' Ansarullah group warned that the biggest victor from what he described as Saleh's "sedition" was the Saudi-led coalition.

In response to Saleh's speech, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi stressed the need for dialogue in another televised appearance in Saturday, and called on Saleh to "be more mature". He fought six wars against the Huthis when he was president, but joined forces with them to take over the capital in 2014.

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