Source: AFP, 29/07/2010
SANAA — Shiite Zaidi rebels are to take part in a national dialogue between Yemen's ruling party and the opposition aimed at easing tensions across the country, a ruling party member said on Thursday.
Three rebel figures, including their spokesman, are among those nominated to represent Yemen's opposition in the national dialogue accord of July 17, Sadok Abu Ras of the General People's Congress told reporters.
"In principle, we will participate in the national dialogue," rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam told AFP by telephone.
The accord was signed by the government and the opposition Common Forum which groups Al-Islah (Reform) Party, the main Islamist opposition, and the Yemeni Socialist Party, as well as with other smaller factions.
It focuses on mechanisms to implement a February 2009 accord for national dialogue and the postponement of a parliamentary election until April 2011 to allow time to amend Yemen's constitution and restructure its political system.
Two days after the accord was sealed, the Zaidi rebels of northern Yemen, who are also known as Huthis, released a statement of support for "a comprehensive dialogue which excludes no one."
In May, Saleh invited all political groups inside and outside Yemen to a "responsible national dialogue, within the framework of the constitutional institutions."
"According to this dialogue, it is possible to form a government of all the influential political parties represented in parliament," he said on the eve of the 20th anniversary or unification between the former North and South Yemen.
A fierce battle between Yemeni government forces and the Huthis erupted last August. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict which first broke out in 2004, with the last battle ending in a February truce.