Yemen rebel leader to Saudis: Let's 'turn the page'

Big blow for Houthi militia

Yemen rebel leader to Saudis: Let's 'turn the page'

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

In response, Houthi chief Abdul-Malek al-Houthi made a surprise speech this morning, calling on Saleh and tribal leaders to intervene to stop the internal bloodshed and reunite the internal ranks to face the "aggression", in reference to the Saudi-led military coalition.

The apparent shift in position came as forces loyal to Mr Saleh battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital Sanaa - with both sides claiming control of areas of the city.

Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh said Saturday he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels, as his alliance with the Houthi insurgents appeared to be crumbling.

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He added: "We will deal with them in a positive way and what happened to Yemen is enough".

"The decision of Popular General Congress to take initiative and align itself with its people will free Yemen from loyal militias to Iran", he said in a statement released by Saudi SPA Agency, in reference to Saleh's party.

He urged the "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".

That government's President, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, has been living in Saudi Arabia since the rebels took over the presidential palace early that year.

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

Three-fourths of Yemenis need some kind of humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, global observers have said, with more than 17 million people facing food insecurity, including 8.4 million at risk of starvation.

"I appeal to the leader Saleh to show more wisdom and maturity. not to heed incitement calls, and help restore security to the country through cooperation", al-Houthi further said.

Rajah Badie, spokesman for the internationally recognized Yemeni government in exile in Riyadh, told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV that his forces "call on all Yemenis to support the uprising (being led by Saleh)", and that the uprising "spells the end of Iranian meddling in the country".

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The war in Yemen is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, killing at least 10,000 people and leading to widespread hunger and disease.

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