Middle East

Ex-Yemen president says won’t go to Saudi for peace talks

Saleh is an ally of Houthis, who overran capital Sanaa and other provinces in late 2014

26.06.2016
Ex-Yemen president says won’t go to Saudi for peace talks Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh

By Zakaria al-Kamali

SANAA, Yemen

Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is an ally of the Shia Houthi group, has rejected any suggestion of going to Saudi Arabia for talks aimed at ending the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

“We won’t go to Saudi Arabia to sign a peace deal even if the war continued to years,” Saleh said in statements on Saturday cited by the website of his General People’s Congress party.

Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 following mass popular protests, is an ally of Houthis, who overran capital Sanaa and other provinces in late 2014.

“We will not go do Saudi Arabia for talks with it,” Saleh said.

“If [Saudis] want to hold dialogue with our party and the Houthis, they can come to Kuwait,” he said, referring to the current venue of UN-sponsored talks aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen.

“We extend our hands with reconciliation and tolerance to Saudi Arabia, not to the mercenaries of Riyadh,” Saleh said, in an implicit reference to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

In April of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Ali Abo Rezeg contributed to this report from Ankara

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