Middle East

Yemen crisis: UN-brokered talks to resume Monday

A soldier stands guard behind a roadblock in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Houthis have been under pressure since announcing their political takeover of Yemen

Yemeni political factions have agreed to resume talks aimed at resolving the country's political crisis, the UN's envoy in Yemen Jamal Benomar has said.

The talks are set to begin on Monday and will include the Houthis, who recently took over power in Yemen.

The Shia rebel group has been widely condemned after dissolving parliament and setting up an interim government.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon has called for the restoration of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

"The situation is very, very seriously deteriorating, with the Houthis taking power and making this government vacuum in power," Mr Ban said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Houthis have said their takeover of Yemen was essential for stability
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption But the Houthis' opponents accuse them of mounting a coup

The Houthis have argued their actions were necessary to prevent a power vacuum forming after the resignation of President Hadi.

He said his position had become untenable after the militia tightened their grip on the capital last month. He has been under house arrest ever since.

On Saturday, the Houthis signalled they were ready to work with other political factions.

"Our hand is extended to every political force in this country. The space is open for partnership, co-operation and brotherhood," said Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

Thousands have protested in several Yemeni cities against the takeover.

Provincial leaders in Marib, east of the capital Sanaa, say they will resist any Houthi attempts to take over the region.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The UN wants President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, restored to power

The Arab League warned the Houthis' move would lead to the collapse of the political process in Yemen.

Yemen has been riven by instability since protesters inspired by the Arab Spring forced the overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011, who is now believed to have been backing the Houthis.

The country is also fighting an al-Qaeda insurgency with the help of US drones. Despite the takeover, the US said it was continuing to work with Yemeni on counter-terrorism.

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