Yemen parties close to a deal to end crisis: UN

Parties including Houthis have agreed on the “form of the legislative authority in the interim period”, UN envoy Jamal Benomar wrote on his Facebook page.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 20 Feb 2015, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:56 PM

Yemen’s political parties are edging closer to a deal that would resolve the crisis caused by the Houthi militia seizing power, UN envoy Jamal Benomar has said.

Parties including Houthis have agreed on the “form of the legislative authority in the interim period”, Benomar wrote on his Facebook page late Thursday.

He hailed the preliminary accord as an “important step towards achieving a comprehensive political agreement that would end the current crisis”.

The Houthis seized Sanaa in September before tightening their grip and prompting Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to offer to resign in protest.

They dissolved parliament and installed a “presidential council” on February 6, sparking security concerns that saw several Arab and Western states close their embassies and evacuate diplomats.

The new deal stipulates that the current parliament dominated by ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party would remain in place, while a parallel “People’s Transitional Council” would be formed to include “unrepresented components”, Benomar said.

Half of the seats in the new council would go to representatives of formerly independent South Yemen, while women and youth groups would get a 30 per cent and 20 per cent quota respectively.

The two chambers together would form the “national council,” the UN envoy said.

“This progress is not an agreement, but is an important breakthrough that paves the way towards a comprehensive agreement,” he wrote.

On Sunday, the UN Security Council urged the Houthis, known officially as Ansarullah, to “immediately and unconditionally” engage in “good faith” in UN-brokered negotiations, withdraw their forces from government institutions and relinquish power.

In a new resolution, adopted unanimously by all 15 members, the council also demanded that the militia release Hadi, Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and other officials and activists under de facto house arrest or in detention.

In response on Monday, the Houthis told the Security Council to “respect the will and sovereignty of the Yemeni people, and to be accurate and objective”.

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