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Yemen's Saleh says 'citizens have revolted against Houthi aggression'

03 December 2017

However, the Houthis were less open to Mr Saleh's idea.

Yemen's General People's Congress (GPC) forces, allied to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, gained control of key areas in the capital Sanaa on Saturday. The civilian suffering was exacerbated by the Saudi naval and air blockade of Yemen, human rights groups say.

"I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness", Saleh said in a televised speech.

"The decision of Popular General Congress to take initiative and align itself with its people will free Yemen from loyal militias to Iran", he said in a statement released by Saudi SPA Agency, in reference to Saleh's party.

The Saudis want to restore the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into retreat and then exile by the fighting.

Saleh went on to denounce the Houthi militia, which he accuses of being responsible for the humanitarian disaster inside the country, and he insisted that the Yemeni people are standing up for themselves to get rid of them.

Pointing to worldwide law, Lowcock said, "Wars have rules, and they need to be complied with".

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In March 2015, warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and other allies began airstrikes on rebel positions in Yemen.

The head of the Houthi's Ansarullah group, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has described Saleh's change of heart as "sedition", and appealed to him to show more wisdom and maturity.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has fought Saleh and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, this month imposed a total blockade on the impoverished country after a rebel missile was shot down near Riyadh.

Yemen's civil war has killed more than ten thousand people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, caused a cholera outbreak infecting almost one million people and put the country on the brink of starvation.

He added that some speculators claim that Saleh's statements are actually a proposition by Saudi Arabia to roll down the hostilities in a manner which would save face.

"It needs to be fully wound down if we are to avoid an atrocious humanitarian tragedy involving the loss of millions of lives, the like of which the world has not seen for many decades", UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said Friday addressing reporters in Geneva.

Yemen's Saleh says 'citizens have revolted against Houthi aggression'