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Yemen to name new prime minister: presidential advisor - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Houthi rebels chant slogans at the compound of the army's First Armored Division, after they took it over, in Sana'a, Yemen, on September 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Houthi rebels chant slogans at the compound of the army’s First Armored Division, after they took it over, in Sana’a, Yemen, on September 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Talks are underway in Yemen as all political factions seek to form a national unity government under the terms of a UN-brokered agreement to end a month-long crisis between the central government and the Houthis, a senior presidential source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Several candidates have been put forward to head the unity government. “I think the name of the new prime minister will be announced soon, once the issue of the ministries is resolved,” Yemen’s presidential advisor Faris Al-Saqqaf told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Both the members of the new cabinet and the prime minister will be announced at the same time to avoid disagreement over government lineup, the advisor said.

On Sunday, the central government and Houthis agreed on a UN-brokered deal to end the crisis that has killed hundreds and led to the fall of most of Yemen’s capital Sana’a to the Shi’ite rebels.

All Yemen’s political parties have nominated their own candidates to stand for the position of prime minister, with the Houthis backing Ayyub Qasim Al-Ahmadi, an exiled Yemeni academic, according to a source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.

Responding to a question about the potential number of ministerial portfolios the Houthis may be granted, Saqqaf said: “The issue has not been resolved yet but they [Houthis] will have decent ministries.”

There were conflicting reports on whether Houthi rebels had overrun the national intelligence headquarters in Sana’a, freeing Iranians detained there, on Wednesday.

Director of national security Ali Al-Ahmadi denied claims that rebels took over the building or released Iranian detainees, state-owned SABA news agency reported.

He said: “There are no prisoners inside the system’s jail and all offices within the system have not been raided and taken over by Houthis.”

However, he said Houthis looted his residence in Sana’a.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued a statement on Thursday in which it pledged bloody attacks against Houthis and branded their takeover of Sana’a an extension of Iran’s project in Yemen.

The statement called on whom it described as “Sunnis” to carry arms in defense of the homeland and religion, urging them to “get together and unite their ranks under the banner of Islam.”

Hamdan Al-Rahbi also contributed reporting.