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Yemen rebels warn against new war

A leader of rebels in Yemen, Abdul Malek Al Houthi, said yesterday a new war will never solve the problem between him and the government.

  • By Nasser Arrabyee, Correspondent
  • Published: 23:37 August 20, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • A Yemeni soldier stands next to a boy after the end of the rebellion in the northern province of Sa'ada in June. Sa'ada was a war zone between government and Al Houthi followers in a conflict that claimed thousands of lives.

Sana'a: A leader of rebels in Yemen, Abdul Malek Al Houthi, said yesterday a new war will never solve the problem between him and the government.

"A military solution is a crime against the whole country, and if the authorities resorted to the military solution, they will never succeed as they did not succeed in the previous wars against us," said Al Houthi in a statement sent to local media.

"And for us, we are not afraid of the threats. We are ready to defend ourselves and our principles and they [military] will be the losers if they went to war against us," he said.

The rebel leader's statement came after the President Ali Abdullah Saleh had threatened decisive military action against Al Houthi rebels if they did not give up the rebellion.

Talks urged

"He has to respect his word and withdraw from his positions, otherwise, a military solution will be the decisive end," Saleh said earlier.

Al Houthi demanded continuation of dialogue although the talks with him achieved nothing during two months.

"The authority escapes by going to war when it is defeated in dialogue, and when it is defeated by arguments and logic," Al Houthi said.

The government accused Al Houthi of foot-dragging and being not committed to the Qatari-brokered agreement for ending the fight between the government troops and the rebels. The Qatari side in the mediation left Sana'a last Friday for the second time since they started the process in mid-June. The mediation failed to convince Al Houthi to carry out the 10-point agreement during a period of 20 days.

"There is no foot-dragging from our side in implementing the agreement and we have implemented everything which was wanted from us, but it is the government that has dragged its feet and did not implement anything until now," Al Houthi said.

He accused the Presidential committee of siding with the government saying, "It was always focusing on the points which obligate us and ignoring the points obligating the government. It was working as per certain instructions."

"Detentions are continuing and we face continuous provocations."

"The people of Sa'ada are witnessing our implementation of the agreement and our descending from mountains. We have documents proving everything we have done in the past but they want to militarise all the evacuated areas and this is what we refused because it does not go with the agreement. We also refuse deporting citizens from their areas," Al Houthi said.

Officials close to the government said the mediation had reached a deadlock after Al Houthi put new conditions to the mediators.

He did not want to surrender two important places: Mutrah and Al Naqa'a, two strongholds south of Saudi Arabia. Another condition was to surrender the body of his brother Hussain who was killed in September 2004 in the first confrontations between government troops and the rebels.

While Al Houthi and his followers say they are implementing the agreement and will not respond to 'government provocations', local sources in Sa'ada said that Al Houthi was building new positions in preparation for a new war.

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