Yemen's Houthis say talks with presidency 'suspended'

The Houthis have recently staged a series of massive protests in Sanaa to demand the dismissal of the government and the reinstatement of recently-slashed fuel subsidies.

Yemen's Houthis say talks with presidency 'suspended'

World Bulletin / News Desk

A spokesman for Yemen's Houthis has said the Shiite group has suspended talks with the presidency aimed at solving the political crisis that has paralyzed the country for weeks, citing "blatant foreign interference."

"We were near to signing a draft agreement, under which popular demands would be met in accordance with a clear-cut roadmap," Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdel-Salam told local daily Al-Oulaye, which has close links to the Shiite group.

The Houthis have recently staged a series of massive protests in Sanaa to demand the dismissal of the government and the reinstatement of recently-slashed fuel subsidies.

According to Abdel-Salam, the draft agreement had been approved by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

But, he said, interference by U.N. Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar and Yemeni presidential envoy Ahmed Mubarak had stalled the signing of the deal.

He also linked their position to that of the ten sponsors of Yemen's national dialogue (the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council minus Qatar and the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members), saying the pair had managed to stall the deal and bring the situation back to square one.

"This interference complicates the situation because these demands belong to the Yemeni people only; foreign parties are not supposed to interfere in shaping the country's policies and future," Abdel-Salam said.

In a Saturday statement, the ten dialogue sponsors expressed "great concern" over the Houthis' ongoing anti-government protests in Sanaa, warning they could serve to destabilize the country.

The thousands-strong rallies, ongoing since mid-August, turned deadly last week after protesters camped outside government buildings blocked key roads in Sanaa to demand the dismissal of Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa's government and the reinstatement of recently-slashes fuel subsidies.

Benomar, who arrived in Sanaa on Thursday, said in a statement Saturday night that he was holding mediation talks in an effort to reach a settlement between the Houthis and the Yemeni government to end weeks of political deadlock.

Earlier this month, President Hadi offered to sack the government, inviting the Houthis to take part in the formation of a new government of national unity. He also offered to reduce fuel prices.

According to Hadi's proposal, however, the president would retain the right to appoint the ministers of "strategic" government portfolios (interior, defense and foreign affairs).

But the Houthis spurned Hadi's offer and vowed to escalate protests further.

Yemen has been dogged by unrest since a popular uprising that began in 2011 ousted longstanding president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.

Last Mod: 15 Eylül 2014, 13:13
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