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Yemen presidency "frustrated" by Houthi advances: source - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Shi'ite Houthi rebels man a checkpoint in Yareem, a town of Yemen's central province of Ibb on October 22, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Shi’ite Houthi rebels man a checkpoint in Yareem, a town of Yemen’s central province of Ibb on October 22, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—As officials consult with the Houthi leadership over forming a new government, Yemen’s presidency is “frustrated” by the Shi’ite militia’s ongoing advance across a number of Yemeni provinces, a source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A source within Yemen’s presidency, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that Yemen’s presidential authority is “frustrated by the actions of the Houthis, due to their refusal to abide by the agreements that have been made in terms of their ongoing operations and occupation of various Yemeni provinces.”

Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi signed the Peace and National Partnership Agreement with the Houthis and other political factions on September 23, agreeing to the establishment of a new government that will be led by a “neutral” prime minister. Khalid Bahah has been agreed as the prime minister-designate and he is currently in the process of forming a new government.

While the Houthis did dismantle their protest camps across the Yemeni capital Sana’a in line with the provisions of the agreement, the group’s fighters continue to advance across the country, taking de-facto control of a number of regions, including the Hajjah province, which borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi advance is seen as an attempt by the Shi’ite militia to pressure the government-formation talks and secure important cabinet appointments for politicians affiliated to the group. Local media has reported that Yemeni Prime Minister Bahah has so far been resistant to Houthi pressure tactics regarding the distribution of ministerial portfolios.

A central government official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the caretaker government’s operations are now being hindered by the Houthis, adding that the Shi’ite movement has completely taken over some ministries. Houthi gunmen stormed the Interior Ministry on Wednesday and forcibly expelled staff working at the deputy finance minister’s office amid fears of the deterioration of the fragile agreement between the Shi’ite movement and the central government.

In addition to the government formation talks, Yemen is also in the process of drafting a new constitution. The Constitution Drafting Committee met for the first time in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday; the committee will continue to hold meetings over next month “within the framework of finalizing and revising the first draft of the constitution,” committee chairman Ibrahim Al-Wazir said.

Elsewhere, Yemeni Foreign Minister Jamal Al-Salal met with Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohamed Al-Jabar in Sana’a on Thursday. The Yemeni Foreign Minister hailed Saudi-Yemeni bilateral relations and thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz for his support to Yemen during this difficult period.