Sana’a, Apr 7 (EFE).- Yemen’s president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Thursday ceded all his powers to a new leadership council, tasked with negotiating a political solution with the Houthi rebels to end the country’s years-long conflict.
In a televised speech from Riyadh, where he is in exile, the leader of the internationally recognized government said he has created a mandate for the eight-member presidential council led by Rashad al-Alimi to take over all his powers.
Al-Alimi has served as his adviser since 2014 and was interior minister in the earlier government led by former president Ali Abdala Saleh, who was killed in an attack in 2017
Hadi’s decision is one of the most important steps taken since the beginning of the war and comes after the intra-Yemen talks in Riyadh without the presence of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The Houthis, meanwhile, called the step a “desperate attempt” to reorganize forces for a new war escalation.
“Our Yemeni people are not interested in illegal measures taken outside the borders of their homeland by an illegal party,” Mohamed Abdulsalam, spokesman of the Houthi movement, wrote on Twitter.
Abdulsalam said that the only way to move toward peace was to “stop the aggression, lift the siege and leave the foreign forces from the country,” he added, referring to the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.
The Houthis have been the most important warring group in the conflict, who in 2014 occupied large parts of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
Hadi also dismissed Vice President Ali Mohsen Saleh al-Ahmar and transferred his powers to the members of the presidential council, according to a statement from the Yemeni Presidency.
Surprisingly, the eight-member presidential council included the separatist leader and former governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, who in recent years rebelled against the Yemeni government and caused one of the biggest crises in the Hadi administration since the beginning of the conflict.
The members of the new presidential council were received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who said that the creation of this body would help usher in a transition from war to peace in Yemen, according to Saudi official news agency SPA.
The crown prince urged the council to begin negotiations with the Houthis under the supervision of the United Nations to reach a final political solution that would restore peace in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has led the military coalition intervening in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict in 2015.
Since then, the Yemeni civil war has claimed the lives of thousands of people and caused the most serious humanitarian catastrophe on the planet, according to the UN. EFE