The leader of the Shi’ite Houthi group in Yemen, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, called on his supporters to continue demonstrations until they overthrow the government, threatening that the group will start a new series of “disturbing escalations against the corrupt during the second phase of protests, which will begin next week”, Anadolu news agency reported.
Al-Houthi made the remarks during a televised speech on Tuesday, which was broadcast by Al-Maseera only hours after the group received the response to their demands from Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
In his response, the Yemeni president demanded for the group to dismantle their armed gatherings surrounding the capital, Sanaa, as well as along the road to the city’s International airport, and to start negotiations on the points contained in the response, a Yemeni source who requested anonymity told Anadolu.
The group had earlier sent a letter to the Yemeni president on Sunday containing their demands after the failure of the Presidential Commission, which visited Saada in the north, to reach an agreement with the group’s leader.
The group demanded for the Yemeni government to resign, to abolish an earlier decision to lift subsidies on oil and to start the implementation of the national dialogue.
The group’s leader, Al-Houthi, launched a blistering attack against the Yemeni Congregation for Reform party, Al-Islah, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen and holds four portfolios in the current government, accusing Al-Islah of “turning against its principles” and of “corruption”.
Al-Houthi also attacked the pro-government demonstrations in Sanaa and other provinces, describing them as fake and aiming to manipulate public opinion. He said: “The Al-Islah leaders have deviated from their party’s principles when they agreed to lift the government’s subsidies on fuel, although I know that some of them are not happy with the decision and will be affected by it.”
It was not possible to obtain an immediate comment from Al-Islah in response Al-Houthi’s accusations.
Furthermore, Al-Houthi commended the positions of the General People’s Congress led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which holds 17 portfolios; the Nasserist Party, one portfolio; the Yemeni Socialist Party, three portfolios; the Baath Party, one portfolio; and the popular Forces Union, one portfolio, for “refusing to participate in the fake demonstrations”.
The Yemeni president called on the Houthi group “to complete the delivery of Amran province in the north to the state authorities after the government responded to their demands, changing the province’s governor and some military leaders”.
He also called for a “ceasefire in Al-Jawf province in the north, and the delivery of the disputed sites to the armed forces, which will install security and stability there”.
In addition, the president pointed out that to abolish the decision to lift government’s subsidies on fuel requires the group to first end their mobilisation, and them to delegate a team to negotiate with the Presidential Commission charged with the issue.
Yemen raised gasoline prices in July by 75 per cent and diesel prices by 90 per cent as part of a plan to cut energy subsidies.
The Yemeni president formed on Wednesday a committee of various parties headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher to meet with the Houthi group. The committee met with the group again on Thursday; however, without reaching an agreement, according to a member of the committee, MP Abdulaziz Jabbari.
Clashes erupted a few months ago in Jawf province near the Ma’rib oil fields between army forces and Houthi militants, resulting in several casualties on both sides.