Monday 5 December 2016

Plans to push Yemen president aside in bid to end 19 months of bloodshed

Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa

Published 28/10/2016 | 02:30

Boys look through a hole made by a Saudi-led air strike on a bridge in Sanaa, Yemen (AP)
Boys look through a hole made by a Saudi-led air strike on a bridge in Sanaa, Yemen (AP)

A UN peace proposal to end a 19-month war in Yemen appears aimed at sidelining exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and setting up a government of less divisive figures, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

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Hadi fled the armed advance of the Iranian-allied Houthi movement in March 2015 and has been a guest of neighbouring Saudi Arabia ever since.

A UN Security Council resolution a month later recognised him as the legitimate head of state and called on the Houthis to disarm and quit Yemen's main cities. But the Houthis and their allies in Yemen's army have said he will never return, accusing him and his powerful vice president, Ali Mushin al-Ahmar, of corruption.

The latest peace plan suggests Ahmar would step down and Hadi would agree to become little more than a figurehead after a Houthi withdrawal from the capital Sanaa.

It was not clear if the men had been consulted on the plan. But their supporters have in the past insisted previous agreements recognising Hadi as leader must be respected.

"As part of the signing of a complete and comprehensive agreement, the current vice president will resign and president Hadi will appoint a new vice president," the document states.

"After the completion of the withdrawal from Sanaa and the handing over of heavy and medium weapons (including ballistic missiles), Hadi will transfer all his powers to a vice president, and the vice president will appoint a new prime minister... [who will form] a national unity government."

The proposal would technically confirm Hadi in office, as stipulated by the UN resolution, but leave him in reality with only a symbolic role.

Irish Independent

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