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Yemeni Opposing Factions Agree on New “Transitional Council”

Al-Akhbar | February 20, 2015

Yemen’s feuding parties agreed on a “people’s transitional council” to help govern the country and guide it out of a political crisis, UN mediator Jamal Benomar announced on Friday.

The move followed the takeover of power by the Houthi militia, which led to the resignation of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi last month and the paralysis of many of Yemen’s state institutions.

“This progress is not a (final) agreement, but an important breakthrough that paves the way towards a comprehensive agreement,” Benomar said in a statement.

As part of the new formula, Yemen’s old 301-member house of representatives, made up overwhelmingly of MPs from the former ruling party of deposed strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, thought to be sympathetic to the Houthis, would stay in place.

Instead of the traditional upper house, a new transitional council — whose numbers were not specified — would consist of traditionally unrepresented sectors among Yemen’s formerly independent South, women and young people.

Together the two bodies would make legislation guiding Yemen’s transition.

Arrangements for the vacated presidency and ministries along with security required further dialogue, Benomar added.

There was no immediate comment by the Houthis or the main Islamist and socialist opposition parties.

Security in Yemen has been steadily deteriorating since the Houthis invaded the capital Sanaa in September and began imposing their writ on the government.

On January 22, Hadi and his Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignation due to the takeover of capital Sanaa.

Following their resignation, Hadi and Bahah have been held under the house arrest and Mohammed Ali al-Houthi — head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Council — has been considered as the de facto person in power.

On February 6, the Houthis issued a “constitutional declaration” dissolving Yemen’s parliament and launching a 551-member “transitional council.”

Yemen has fallen into turmoil since a 2012 uprising forced out autocratic president Saleh, who had been in power for 33 years, after a year of unrest. Following Saleh’s overthrow, the Houthis, al-Qaeda, separatists from the former independent South Yemen, and tribesmen have been fighting each other to gain power and territory in the fragile state.

The latest crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country threatens to allow al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to expand across the peninsula.The turmoil has also cast doubt over the future of a key partnership for Washington in the fight against AQAP.

The US has conducted at least four drone strikes in the country since US President Barack Obama vowed on January 25 not to let up in Washington’s campaign against militant Islamist organizations in Yemen despite the country’s political turmoil.

Human rights organizations have raised deep concerns about US drone strikes in Yemen. Critics have denounced the impact the attacks have had on Yemeni civilians, who have been killed or seen their homes destroyed.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

February 20, 2015 - Posted by | Aletho News | ,

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