News ID: 192532
Published: 0955 GMT May 10, 2017

Former Yemeni president wants negotiations with Saudi Arabia

Former Yemeni president wants negotiations with Saudi Arabia

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has expressed his willingness to enter into talks with the Saudi regime, which has been engaged in a massive bombing campaign against his nation since 2015.

"We have no choice but dialogue," AFP quoted Saleh as saying on Tuesday during a meeting of his General People's Congress Party in the capital Sana’a.

"We are ready to go to Riyadh, Khamis Mushait, Muscat or elsewhere to start dialogue and to reach an understanding," Saleh added, referring to cities in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Oman and without elaborating on what sort of understanding he was looking for with Riyadh.

Saleh, however, underlined his opposition to the Saudi-backed resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, insisting that Saudi Arabia would have to find a "new leadership."

Since March 2015, the Saudi kingdom has been waging a brutal aerial campaign against Yemen in an attempt to reinstall Hadi -- a staunch ally of Riyadh who resigned as president in 2015 -- and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is now playing a key role in defending the nation against the Saudi aggression as well as running the affairs of the war-torn country.

Latest tallies indicate that the Saudi war on Yemen has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more. The Saudi aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country's public and commercial facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition, while more than seven million Yemenis are grappling with starvation. The war and the resulting destruction and shortage of basic goods have also brought about a major cholera outbreak, so far killing at least 34 people across the country in the past two weeks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, members of Saleh's circle have been meeting unofficially with Saudi delegates for weeks in the German capital Berlin, the AFP report added, citing a Yemeni government official.

AFP further quoted Saleh as saying that he hoped to "form an alliance with Iran that would serve the interests of Yemen," without elaborating.

However, he also ruled out mediation by UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who plans to resume deadlocked peace talks with Saudi Arabia by the end of May, and accused him of bias.

   
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