Yemen announces new government

Prime Minister Khaled Bahhah to lead technocratic government formed under a UN-brokered deal to end political deadlock.

    Yemen, which has been in political turmoil due to clashes between rival factions, has announced the formation of a new government after weeks of unsuccessful attempts.  

    Key players, including the Houthi rebels, had signed an agreement last Saturday, mandating the president and prime minister to form a new technocratic government.

    Five women are in the cabinet, which will be led by Prime Minister Khaled Bahhah, a former diplomat.

    State television read out the names of 34 ministers in the new government on Friday, bringing in politicians including from both the Houthis and from a wing of the southern separatist Herak group.

    The Houthis captured the capital in September, capitalising on protests and widespread anger following the government's announcement of a sharp rise in fuel prices.

    Shortly after, the Shia rebels captured a number of key cities and towns, waging battles with opposing tribes and al-Qaeda-linked fighters and helping to make them the powerbrokers in the country.

    "Most Yemenis hope that this government will put an end to months of instability and violence," Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said.

    "However, the reaction of Houthis and the supporters Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former president, are important for this goal to be acheved." 

    Under a UN-sponsored accord signed last month, the Houthis were to withdraw from Sanaa and disarm once a neutral prime minister was named.

    UN sanctions

    Meanwhile, Saleh and two Houthi rebel leaders are due to have sanctions brought against them within hours.

    The US-proposed sanctions against Saleh, Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, are due to come into effect at 22:00 GMT on Friday, provided no member of the UN Security Council objects to them, UN sources told Al Jazeera. 

    The three men are blamed for orchestrating Yemen's current unrest.

    The sanctions include a travel ban and assets freeze on the three men, diplomats in New York said earlier in the week.

    In Sanaa, thousands of supporters of Saleh, along with Houthi fighters who have overrun the capital, have rallied, denouncing what they say is US "interference'' in Yemen's affairs.

    The protesters carried posters urging the US ambassador to get out of the country, condemning the proposed sanctions against the three men.

    The political chaos has raised fears that the impoverished country, which neighbours major oil-producer Saudi Arabia and lies on the key shipping route from the Suez Canal to the Gulf, may become a failed state.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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