Yemeni president brings Houthis into new government

The new government will be headed by Prime Minister-designate Khaled Bahah, a former oil minister and ambassador to the United Nations

Yemeni president brings Houthis into new government

World Bulletin/News Desk

Yemen's president has announced a new cabinet including members of the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group that captured the capital Sanaa in September, state media said on Friday, in a move that could help end a crippling standoff in the Arab nation.

Under a power-sharing agreement signed last month, the Houthis are meant to withdraw their forces from the city once a new administration is formed. Tensions rose last week when they set an ultimatum for President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to form a government within 10 days or face "other options".

Stability in the country of 25 million people is important to the United States because it borders oil-producing Saudi Arabia.

The new government will be headed by Prime Minister-designate Khaled Bahah, a former oil minister and ambassador to the United Nations. The 34 ministers named on state television and news agency Saba include half a dozen Houthi loyalists, whose portfolios will include the civil service and social affairs.

Once a religious movement seeking greater autonomy in the north, the Houthis have in recent months become Yemen's power-brokers and sent their militiamen into the west and centre of the country, far beyond their traditional redoubts.

They captured Sanaa on Sept. 21, following weeks of anti-government unrest.

"The announcement of the government is a step that can help in easing the political crisis. I think President Hadi did not announce this government formation without consultations with the Houthis," said Yemeni political analyst Ali Saif Hassan.

The cabinet also includes politicians from a wing of a southern separatist group, al-Herak.

Abdullah al-Saydi, a former envoy to the United Nations was appointed foreign minister; Mahmoud al-Sobehy, a senior army commander in the southern city of Aden, became defence minister; Mohammed bin Nabhan, a member of Herak, takes over the oil ministry; and Galal el-Rouwaishan, former head of intelligence, is the new interior minister.

No changes were made to the finance ministry, which is headed by Mohammed Zemam.

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2014, 10:19
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