Yemen’s president transfers power to new leadership council

Hadi also announced he had sacked Vice President Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar

Official Instagram page
Official Instagram page


Published: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 10:30 AM

Yemen’s president announced Thursday he is handing his powers to a new leadership council, in a major shake-up in the coalition battling Houthi rebels as a fragile ceasefire takes hold.

“I irreversibly delegate to this presidential leadership council my full powers,” President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said in a televised statement early Thursday, the final day of peace talks held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Hadi’s internationally recognised government has been locked in conflict with Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa and most of the north despite a Saudi-led intervention launched in 2015.

A United Nations-brokered truce that took effect on Saturday — the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — has offered a glimmer of hope in the conflict.

The truce came as the peace talks were unfolding in Riyadh without the participation of the Houthis.

Some analysts had cast doubt on what the negotiations could achieve in the absence of the Houthis, but Thursday’s news may help the sometimes fractious coalition battling the rebels to speak with one voice in any future peace negotiations.

Hadi also announced he had sacked Vice President Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar.

The new council will consist of eight members and be led by Rashad Al Alimi, a former interior minister and adviser to Hadi.

Hadi said it would “negotiate with the Houthis to reach a ceasefire all over Yemen and sit at the negotiating table to reach a final political solution.”

Hadi has been based in Saudi Arabia since fleeing to the kingdom in 2015 as rebel forces closed in on his last redoubt, the southern port city of Aden.

The formation of the council represents “the most consequential shift in the inner workings of the anti-Houthi bloc since the war began”, Peter Salisbury, senior Yemen analyst for the International Crisis Group, said on Twitter.

But he cautioned that implementing the arrangement would be “complicated to say the least.”

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, met the council and said he hoped for a “new page” in Yemen, footage aired by state media showed.

Saudi Arabia said it welcomed Hadi’s announcement and pledged $3 billion in aid and support.

Yemen’s 30 million people are in dire need of assistance.

A UN donors’ conference this month raised less than a third of its $4.27 billion target, prompting dark warnings for a country where 80 percent of the population depends on aid.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said Wednesday that there had been a “significant reduction of violence” since the truce took effect but both sides have accused each other of minor “breaches” of the ceasefire.

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