Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Saleh: No seventh war in Yemen's north

Source: Middle East Online

Qatari emir says his country is ready to mediate in Yemen's south to safeguard country’s unity.

SANAA - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh stressed on Tuesday that no seventh war will take place in the country's tense north between the Sanaa government and Shiite rebels.

"There are no indicators for a seventh war," Saleh told a news conference, saying that would be "totally unacceptable."

The sixth war with the rebels, known as Huthis -- who complain of political, social and religious marginalisation -- erupted last August.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict that first began in 2004 and ended in a February truce.

The Huthis will "start Wednesday" implementing the six-point truce "including the withdrawal from cities" currently under their control and "will hand everything over to local authorities," the president said.

Despite a complementary agreement reached late June to revive the peace accord, the shadow of war has been looming in the impoverished country's north as both sides exchanged blames over breaching February's truce.

Qatar mediation
The emir of Qatar said on Tuesday that his Gulf state was prepared to help in safeguarding the unity of Yemen as southern calls for secession get louder.

"We would happy to take part in finding a solution that helps the survival of the Yemen unity," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told reporters after talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa.

"We are always with the Yemenis in their problems, unless they refuse that. Until now, they have not refused," the emir said, without specifying whether Qatar was already involved in mediation efforts.
"We support the efforts of President (Saleh) to find a solution," he said.

South Yemen was independent from the time of Britain's withdrawal in 1967 until it united with North Yemen in 1990. The south seceded in 1994, sparking a short civil war that ended with the region overrun by northern troops.

Residents of the south, who complain of discrimination by the Sanaa government in the allocation of resources, have staged frequent protests, sometimes demanding full secession.

Qatar has been involved in the past in talks between the Sanaa government and Huthi rebels in the north who have been locked in an on-off conflict since 2004.

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