Houthis set deadline to resolve Yemen crisis

Shia rebels say they will take over power themselves unless political crisis is resolved in three days.

Army and police officers loyal to the Houthis
The Houthis have emerged as the dominant faction in Yemen after seizing Sanaa in September [Reuters]

Yemen’s Houthi fighters have said they will take over the state’s affairs if a three-day deadline to resolve the country’s crisis is not met.

The Houthis issued the ultimatum at a meeting on Sunday telling politicians “to reach a solution and fill the vacuum” within three days or “the revolutionary leadership” would “take care of the situation of the state”.

“The national conference gives three days to political parties to reach a solution to the current political crisis, otherwise, the committee has assigned the revolutionary leadership to act on its behalf to take the immediate and necessary actions to restore the state’s authority during this transitional period,” Houthi member, Ibrahim Abdulla Jaber said.

Houthis call for military and presidential committees to rule country

The deadline was aimed at filling the power vacuum left after Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet resigned on January 22.

Talks to resolve the crisis have not yielded any results.

The “Southern Movement” suspended its participation in talks, saying they were taking place “under intimidation and a siege of legitimate authorities”.

The group demands a return to the full independence that the southern region enjoyed from 1967 to 1990. 

In another development, sources told Al Jazeera the Houthis transported 10 warplanes to their stronghold province of Saada, with huge amounts of ammunition.

The crisis in the Arabian Peninsula country escalated on January 17 when the Houthis seized Hadi’s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, in an apparent bid to extract changes to a draft constitution they oppose.

Hadi, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, tendered his resignation along with Prime Minister Khalid Bahah on January 22, saying he could no longer stay in office as the country was in “total deadlock”.

The Houthis, who had long been concentrated in their northern highlands where Shia Muslims form a majority, have captured several key cities across Yemen as they push to control more territory of the country.

Source: Al Jazeera