Middle East

Yemen Dialogue Committee, Houthis meet for talks

yamenMembers of Yemen’s Committee for Dialogue have arrived in the country’s northern province of Sa’ada to hold talks with the Houthi group
According to Nadia al-Saqqaf, a member of Yemen’s Dialogue Committee, the meeting is a ”preliminary visit” focusing on establishing talks between the two sides and welcoming the Houthis into negotiations.

“Well, they [Houthis] haven’t made preconditions as in to come to the tables, but they have made 10 points or demands clear”, Saqqaf said adding that discussing their demands is the next step.

The Houthis have also described negotiations as the only way to end Yemen’s political crisis, but they have stressed that the talks should not be affected by foreign interference.

The Houthi group, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, took up arms against the government of former Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2004 after suffering years of widespread human rights violations and political and religious discrimination against their community in the north of the country.

During Saleh’s three-decade-long rule, Sa’ada and neighboring Amran province, the strongholds of the Houthis, were frequently pounded by fighter jets and helicopter gunships.

On August 11, 2007, the Yemeni government launched Operation Scorched Earth to uproot the Houthis, accusing them of seeking a return to the Zaydi imamate which was overthrown in a 1962 coup.

Houthis’ positions in the north are still being targeted. Last week, at least 12 people were killed after a bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a school in the northern province of al-Jawf, where Houthis had gathered for Friday Prayers.


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