Yemeni PM urges support for new government

Khaled Bahah calls on all factions to honour political deal after former president and Houthi rebels boycott cabinet.

    Yemen's new prime minister has vowed to unite the country amid the ongoing political infighting, calling on all factions to support his government in accordance with an agreement signed last week.

    Khaled Bahhah told Al Jazeera on Sunday that his government would hold together despite the calls for a boycott by the Houthi rebels and allies of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

    "They have signed on paper that they are supporting this government. So regardless of all their statements, we are considering what has been signed during the meeting with the UN representative," he said, in an interview with Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra in the capital Sanaa.

    Earlier on Sunday, Bahhah presided over his first meeting with his Cabinet, after they were sworn-in.

    "I know that it is not an easy thing to start in Yemen, but with all the support of the Yemeni people, I think we will be able to tackle all these problems," he said. 

    Bahhah also said that his government will respect the implementation of the UN sanctions against three former leaders, including Saleh, who still commands a political following in the country. 

    "The fabric of Yemeni society would be in danger if the outcomes of the national dialogue are not implemented," he added.

    Commenting on the recent political developments in Yemen, Peter Salisbury, a political analyst and independent journalist, told Al Jazeera: "People just seem to be dissatisfied with the political establishment in general."

    "Stabilisation of the economy, stable payment of salaries and welfare allowances, and some sense of security are the leading expectations from the new government," he said. 

    Delicate challenge

    Al Jazeera's Ahelbara said that the new prime minister faces "an extremely delicate challenge" as he tries to balance rival political interests.

    "It's a very fractious political reality," he said. "We will continue to see a political divide for the months to come."

    Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra reports on the political turmoil in Yemen

    The ruling General People's Congress (GPC) and the Houthi rebels have opposed the newly-formed government. The GPC said it was not consulted in the formation of the new cabinet.

    Houthi rebels also rejected the new cabinet, demanding instead the dismissal of members they consider unqualified or corrupt.

    The cabinet, formed on Friday and welcomed by Washington, "is in violation of the peace agreement... and a clear obstruction to the political process in favour of private and narrow interests," the rebels said in a statement on Saturday.

    On Saturday, the GPC's central committee also dismissed President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi from his posts as vice president and secretary-general of the party, accusing him of soliciting the UN sanctions against Saleh.

    Saleh is seen as the main backer of Houthi rebels who seized Sanaa in September unopposed, and have since expanded their control to coastal areas and regions south of the capital. Some army troops that remain loyal to Saleh are accused of aiding the rebels.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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