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Houthis reject presidential initiative to end crisis - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Supporters of the Shi'ite Houthi movement attend an anti-government rally in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on August 29, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Supporters of the Shi’ite Houthi movement attend an anti-government rally in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on August 29, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s Houthi movement rejected the latest attempt by the country’s president to defuse the escalating standoff between the movement and the government on Tuesday.

The movement, whose members have been occupying sites across the capital Sana’a for two weeks, is demanding a series of economic and political reforms to the country, including the resignation of the current cabinet and the restoration of fuel subsidies recently cut by the government.

On Tuesday, President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said he would be selecting a new prime minister within a week and would task the new premier with holding talks with all political parties to form a new government.

According to the president, the new government program would include a reduction of fuel prices, a review of the country’s economic, financial and monetary policies, raising the minimum wage, and ensuring a commitment by all parties to implement all recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference.

Hadi also promised to appoint some Houthi ministers to the new government, but reserved the right to select the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, and finance.

A presidential source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that no agreement had been reached to end the crisis and that the initiative was launched “to pull the rug from under the feet of the Houthis, who have caused an escalation in an unreasonable manner and want to lead Yemen to violence and infighting, which is close to becoming a reality, amid [their] rejection of all initiatives by President Hadi.”

The source also denied rumors that the current national unity government led by Mohamed Salim Basindawa had been dismissed.

Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdul-Salam issued a statement which said the movement had rejected the initiative, and that it was “still on the side of the Yemeni people who have launched a popular revolution to demand their legitimate and just rights.”

On Wednesday the movement appeared to have unveiled the next stage of its protests, after reports emerged that dozens of its members had blocked several major roads in the capital.

According to the Associated Press, armed Houthis sealed off a number of main roads with improvised barriers made from tires and concrete blocks, including a boulevard housing a number of official buildings.