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Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition

Yemen's Saleh Calls for 'New Page' in Relations with Saudi-led Coalition

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Saturday it was confident that leaders of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's General People's Congress Party (GPC) would return to the Arab fold. The reaction is another sign of a developing rift among rebel groups in the Yemen civil war.

"Disagreements (between the two sides) can be settled through negotiation, and invaders and enemies will get the most out of the sedition", he said, urging Saleh to abandon such "irresponsible" and "suspicious" moves.

The missile attacks, which could further escalate the coalition's military campaign, underscore how the raging Yemen conflict is increasingly spilling across the border, threatening Saudi towns and villages.

The comments, carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news channel, came after Saleh said he was ready to turn a new page with the coalition if it stopped what he described as its aggression on Yemen and lifted restrictions on transportation.

"We vow to our brothers and neighbours that, after a ceasefire is in place and the blockade is lifted. we will hold dialogue directly through the legitimate authority represented by our parliament", he said.

Within hours, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam pushed back.

"That blockade has been partially wound down but not fully wound down".

Three-fourths of Yemenis need some kind of humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, global observers have said, with more than 17 million people facing food insecurity, including 8.4 million at risk of starvation.

"It's been like a street war", they said, adding that ambulances have been ferrying the wounded to hospitals.

Houthi fighters and battalions loyal to Saleh made common cause to fan out through Yemen in 2015 and have weathered thousands of air strikes launched by neighboring Saudi Arabia and its allies. Together these groups have been fighting against the Saudi-backed forces of ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi since 2015.

The Houthis, a Shiite tribal militia from northwest Yemen, have been at war with the central government for the better part of a decade. It was the second such attack in the month of November claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Yemen's war has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, caused a cholera outbreak infecting almost one million people and led the country on the brink of starvation. The suspected number of cases has reached 500,000, according to the World Health Organization.

The UN Human Rights Office has documented more than 13,800 civilian casualties, including more than 5,000 people killed since fighting began.

Yemen is now facing a near starvation and one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in decades.

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