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Al Houthis, ex-Yemen president’s party accept peace terms
October 7, 2015, 11:16 am

The party of Yemen’s former president, a main player in the messy, months-old civil war, said in an emailed statement that it accepts a peace plan brokered by the United Nations in talks in Oman.

The General People’s Congress (GPC) is the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, to whom many of the army units fighting alongside the northern Al Houthi militia against forces backed by Gulf states remain loyal.

“An official source at the General People’s Congress reiterated the party’s fast position on ending hostilities and raising the blockade and on a peaceful solution to Yemen’s crisis,” the party said in the statement.

The Al Houthi militia has also agreed in writing to the the terms of a UN resolution calling for it to withdraw from Yemeni cities, the BBC reported.

In a letter to the UN, Al Houthi representatives pledged to adhere to a seven-point peace plan brokered by the UN during talks in Oman.

In the letter, the Al Houthi representatives call the peace plan an “important and fundamental ... step towards the resumption of the political process,” reported the BBC.

“We, from our side along with other parties, commit to these seven points as one unified bundle,” it says, adding: “We welcome the UN call for all sides to return to the table of dialogue.”

The move comes following a series of military successes by the Saudi-led coalition looking to restore the rule of the internationally-recognised government of Hadi, which was overthrown by Al Houthis.

In recent months, the coalition has successfully recaptured strategically located territory, including the central province of Marib, east of Al Houthi-occupied Sana’a, Bab Al Mandab Strait, and the southern city of Aden, which had become the government’s temporary capital.

Al Houthis have been beseiged in the capital Sana’a, which they occupied last September.

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, supported by a Saudi-led military coalition and allied to local militias, has ruled out an agreement until Al Houthis and Saleh’s forces implement a UN resolution by quitting cities and surrendering arms.

However, he has also said his government would join the UN-sponsored talks if Al Houthis publicly accepted the resolution.

The GPC said in its statement that any implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2216 must take place “in accordance with operational mechanisms agreed upon by all parties”, implying that a wider agreement should come first.

The Gulf-backed forces have in recent weeks pushed the Al Houthis and Saleh’s forces out of Yemen’s second city Aden, retaken swathes of the south and mounted an offensive in the Marib area east of the capital Sana’a.

The Gulf countries and Hadi have repeatedly said they do not trust Saleh or Al Houthis to implement peace agreements because they believe them to have reneged on previous political deals since the start of a 2012 transition from Saleh’s rule.

International aid agencies and the UN have raised alarm over the humanitarian cost of Yemen’s civil war, both from fighting that has killed more than 5,000 people, and from a coalition blockade they say has brought the country close to famine.

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