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Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition
03 December 2017, 01:28 | Myrtle Vega
Yemen rebel alliance teeters as strongman turns to Saudis
"I call on our brothers in neighboring countries.to stop their aggression and lift the blockade", he said, "and we will turn the page".
In a televised address, Saleh called for new relations with the Saudi-led coalition, which he and the Houthis have been battling for nearly three years (since March 2015). Together these groups have been fighting against the Saudi-backed forces of ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi since 2015.
The Houthis accused Mr Saleh of betrayal, and vowed to keep up the fight against the Saudi-led coalition.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Saturday he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels to end the three-year conflict.
At least 9 Houthi rebels were killed in clashes with government forces in northern Yemen, according to the Yemeni army website on Friday.
MEE tried to contact Houthi sources for comment on the fighting, but they declined to speak.Some Houthi supporters reported news via social media that Houthi fighters still control most of Sana'a.
The clash between Saleh's supporters and the Houthis underscores the complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, where war between Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent times.
But Saleh's message didn't sit well with the Houthis, whose spokesman called his remarks "a coup against our alliance and partnership". The country has since fallen into chaos and Mr Saleh later joined the Houthis to drive Mr Hadi out of the capital in 2014.
The United Nations has warned that the country faces mass starvation unless the Saudi-led coalition allows more food aid to enter the impoverished country.
Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, founder of the Houthi movement, was killed by Saleh government forces in 2004.
He said that the Houthi militias had been seeking "in various ways to reproduce the model of the mandate of the Iranian jurist, and bet on the decision of Yemen and its sovereignty to the malignant evil and mischief in Qom and Tehran". It also called on supporters, including tribal fighters, to "defend themselves, their country, their revolution and their republic".
The Houthi group leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, had earlier appealed to Mr Saleh to avoid any escalation, saying that the crisis would only serve Yemen's enemies.
According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country's population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.
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