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Yemen’s Houthis, Saleh strike power-sharing deal: source - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Tribal gunmen loyal to the Shi'ite Houthi movement shout slogans and hold weapons during a gathering in Sana'’a, Yemen, on February 4, 2015. (EPA/Yahya Arhab)

Tribal gunmen loyal to the Shi’ite Houthi movement shout slogans and hold weapons during a gathering in Sana’’a, Yemen, on February 4, 2015. (EPA/Yahya Arhab)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s Houthi movement has struck a power-sharing deal with the ruling General People’s Congress party (GPC) and a separatist faction to fill the power vacuum left by the resignation of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and his government, according to sources in the country.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, a Sana’a political source said Houthis agreed Wednesday with the GPC, led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and an unnamed faction affiliated with the Southern Al-Hirak movement, a secessionist group, to form a presidential council to replace Hadi.

Hadi stood down last month after the Houthis stormed his Sana’a residence and placed him under virtual house arrest.

The source’s claim was denied by a leading member of the GPC, Hussein Hazib, who told Asharq Al-Awsat that his party would leave the decision whether to accept or reject Hadi’s resignation to the parliament.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the Houthi movement said it would announce in the next few days “national and inclusive measures aimed at . . . filling the [power] vacuum and achieving stability.”

The group said it was seeking “to prevent the country from sliding into chaos and collapse.”

The statement blasted Yemen’s political factions for “abandoning their political duties and ducking their national responsibilities,” in a clear reference to their failure to meet a Wednesday deadline set by the Shi’ite group to form an interim government.

Meanwhile, UN-sponsored talks aimed at resolving the political crisis in Yemen resumed at the Movenpick hotel in Sana’a on Wednesday evening after a two-day hiatus, a source close to the office of the UN Envoy Jamal Benomar told Asharq Al-Awsat.

UN efforts to find a political settlement have encountered serious obstacles so far, with the Islamist Islah party and Yemen’s Socialist Party become the latest groups to walk out of talks, claiming that the Houthis had violated previous agreements.

Yemen’s Nasserist Unionist People’s Organization party had already pulled out of the talks earlier this week.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Secretary-General of the Nasserist party Abdullah Al-Noman said: “The talks reached a dead-end and lacked the horizon for a political settlement.”

The Nasserist politician said his party set a list of conditions for negotiating with Houthis, including the lifting of house arrest on Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, pledges to not suppress peaceful protests, and pulling Houthi troops out of Sana’a as well as other security arrangements in Sana’a and all the cities of Yemen.

According to Noman, the Houthis demanded in exchange the integration of a further 20,000 of their fighters into the government’s security and military forces.

The Shi’ite-led militia stormed Sana’a in September 2014, forcing Hadi to submit to their demands for a larger role in the government and integration of their members into Yemen’s security services.