Yemen fighters says ready for talks with Saudi Arabia
Yemen's southerner fighters said they were ready for talks to end fighting with neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
Yemen's southerner fighters said on Thursday they were ready for talks to end fighting with neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and issued a taped message from their leader to disprove reports he had been killed.
"If Saudi aggression stops and there is a real will towards security and stability ... then we do not attack anyone that does not attack us," the fighters said on their website.
"We reiterate ... our support for dialogue and a language of understanding to resolve all differences," said the rebels, who are also fighting government troops in impoverished Yemen's mountainous north.
The conflict drew in neighbouring Saudi Arabia after the fighters seized Saudi territory last month, prompting Riyadh to launch strikes against them.
The fighters posted on the Internet an audio recording from their leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, in an apparent effort to deny reports by the Yemeni government and media that he had been killed in the fighting.
"Our fighters have the necessary experience (of war) ... but we are concerned about our innocent civilians ... our women and children," Houthi said in the tape, calling for international condemnation of what he said were widespread killings of civilians in the northern war.
The authenticity of the recording could not be verified, but the speaker's voice sounded like that in earlier recordings of Houthi.
The recording appeared to be new as Houthi referred to government and Saudi air attacks he said had been carried out against civilian targets as recently as Dec. 27.
In southern Yemen, hundreds of supporters of the opposition Southern Movement marched in three provinces on Thursday to demand the release of those arrested in previous protests, residents and news websites said.
Both the Shi'ite fighters and the southern separatists complaining of social and economic discrimination, which the government denies.
Reuters Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2010, 00:23