Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Yemen, rebels trade blame for faltering peace talks

Source: Reuters, 05/08/2010
* Govt, rebels say committed to peace talks to prevent war
* Rial gains against dollar after dollar injection.
Sana'a- Yemen's president and the leader of Shi'ite rebels traded blame on Wednesday for violations of their fragile truce.

Yemen agreed the truce in February with the northern Shi'ite rebels, who complain of religious and economic discrimination, to halt six cycles of a war that has raged on and off since 2004 and displaced 350,000 people.

But instability still threatens Yemen, neighbour to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, which was briefly drawn into the conflict last year when rebels seized Saudi border areas.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the government was struggling with "extremists and war mongers" among the rebels.

"We are insistent on a peace process and will not be dragged into a seventh war," he told journalists.

Rebel leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi told the publication Al-Haqiqa that talks with the government were at an advanced stage, but that the government was still not committing to its obligations under the truce.

"The clearest example of this are the many (rebel) prisoners (who should have been freed under) several agreements," he said.
Saleh said the government was making every effort to fulfil the promises made in the truce agreement.

Separately, Yemen's rial, at a record low, gained against the U.S. dollar, climbing to 239 rials for each dollar from 251 in the past few days, traders said.

The move came after an injection of dollars into the exchange market by the central bank, an official told Reuters without giving details. The bank has sold over $1 billion in the market this year to support the rial currency.

Houthi, whose group has an anti-U.S. stand, also accused the government of "selling the country to America and other regional forces", referring to Sanaa's close ties to Washington ant its top regional ally, Saudi Arabia.

Yemen, also facing a separatist movement in the south, is under international pressure to quell domestic conflicts and focus on a resurgent al Qaeda in the country.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state went to the forefront of Western security concerns when al Qaeda's Yemen wing claimed responsibility for the botched bombing of a U.S.-bound plane in December. (Reporting by Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari; writing by Erika Solomon and Firouz Sedarat

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