Yemen's Houthi back dialogue

Rebels express support for government-backed accord between political rivals.

    Political factions hope to see ministers from all parties represented in the Yemeni parliament [AFP]

    It is aimed at finding ways of implementing a February 2009 deal for national dialogue and postponing a parliamentary election until April 2011 to allow time to amend Yemen's constitution.

    Power share calls

    Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, said on Saturday that the new agreement was "a positive step".

    In depth

      Profile: Yemen's Houthi fighters
      Inside story: Yemen's future
      Riz Khan: Yemen, a failed state?
      Video: Yemen's tough al-Qaeda challenge
      In depth: Yemen's future

    "God willing, it will create a political détente and begin a new phase, and stop media campaigns," he said.

    "We are in the same ship, we should be sailing out together, and there should be a command for this ship from all political forces."

    He also renewed a call for Yemen's political parties to form a national unity government.

    In May, Saleh invited Yemeni political groups to join a "responsible national dialogue, within the framework of the constitutional institutions".

    "According to this dialogue, it is possible to form a government of all the influential political parties represented in parliament," he said then.

    Tensions remain

    But the Houthis also called on Saleh's government to carry out a pledge to release detainees.

    The Yemeni government agreed on Saturday to release 400 detainees, mostly northern rebels.

    Tensions remain high in northern Yemen, where the Houthis say the government is preparing for another round of conflict despite the implementation of a cease-fire signed in February, which ended months of fighting earlier this year.

    The Houthis have fought six wars with the government since 2004. They blame the central government for economic and religious discrimination.

    The United Nations estimates that nearly 300,000 people have fled their homes during the six years of fighting. Few of them have returned since the cease-fire.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.