Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh urges rebel allies to implement UN decisions

The statement could be a nudge towards peace talks.

Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on February 27, 2012. AFP Photo
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SANAA // Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday urged his rebel allies to implement UN security council decisions in return for a halt in Saudi-led coalition air strikes.

“I call on Ansarullah (the Shiite Huthi rebels) to accept all UN security council decisions and to implement them in return for a halt in the coalition forces’ aggression,” Mr Saleh said in a statement read out on his behalf on his private television channel Yemen Today.

“I urge them and everyone — militias and Al Qaeda as well as militias loyal to (president Abdrabu Mansur) Hadi, to withdraw from all provinces, especially Aden,” the main southern city where fighting has raged between rival forces.

A UN security council resolution this month imposed an arms embargo on the rebel leaders, including Mr Saleh’s own son Ahmed, and demanded that the Houthis withdraw from government institutions they had seized since they overran Sanaa in September.

Mr Saleh, who still holds sway over army units allied with the Houthis, had welcomed the resolution as a way to “stop bloodshed” in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has led an air war targeting the rebels and their allies since March 26.

The former president, who still heads the influential General People’s Congress party, called for UN-brokered Saudi-Yemeni talks to be held in Geneva.

Mr Saleh also called for a resumption of inter-Yemeni dialogue, urging “reconciliation” and the release of “all prisoners and those kidnapped”.

He proposed that all provinces to be handed over to “the army and security apparatus under the control of local authorities in each province”.

Mr Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years before being forced to stand down following a year-long Arab Spring-inspired uprising in 2011.

* Agence France-Presse