Yemen's Saleh says open to talks with Saudi-led coalition

Yemen's Saleh says open to talks with Saudi-led coalition

Yemen's Saleh says open to talks with Saudi-led coalition

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

"I call upon the brothers in neighbouring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighbourliness", Mr Saleh said in a televised speech.

The coalition accuses Saleh of having betrayed his Arab neighbours by joining the Houthi-led forces they say are aligned with non-Arab Iran.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said at least 80 people have been killed in this week's clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and Houthis.

But Saleh's message didn't sit well with the Houthis, whose spokesman called his remarks "a coup against our alliance and partnership".

Yemen's former President Ali Abdallah Saleh spoke on Saturday in a live TV address to slam the Houthi militia amid fierce battles between Saleh loyalists and the Iran-backed militia in the capital Sanaa.

Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh said he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels, in what the rebels called "a coup" against their fragile alliance with the ousted president.

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Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

A statement from Saleh's GPC said on Thursday that three guards were killed when Houthi forces attacked the house of Tareq Saleh, adding that they also besieged the residence of Ibrahim Sharaf, a party member and foreign minister of the Sana'a-based government. Hostilities between the two sides broke out on Wednesday.

In a televised speech on December 2, Saleh called on the Saudi-led coalition to pave the way for an end to nearly three years of war by stopping attacks and lifting a siege on the country. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Saleh's supporters managed on Saturday to seize control of several embassies and government buildings from the Houthis.

A statement from Saleh's GPC appealed on Saturday to security and military forces and all public employees to be neutral and not to implement instructions given by the Houthis in all provinces.

Tribal forces have meanwhile mobilized to support Saleh.

"Our revolution is against the Houthis and not against the public institutions, so we will not harm any institution", he said.

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