Hadi dismisses two pro-Al Houthi ministers

Saleh’s party abandons him, sides with Hadi’s government

Al Mukalla: Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a decree on Monday dismissing two pro-Al Houthis ministers as powerful members of the General People’s Congress (GPC) decided to refer former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to an internal tribunal for aligning himself with the militants.
The government-controlled Saba news agency reported that Hadi dismissed Hassan Zaid and Ghaleb Abdullah Mutlaq, two ministers of states, who publicly backed Al Houthis’ capture of the capital and opposed the exiled president.
The two ministers were appointed in Prime Minister Khalid Bahah’s government in 2014 and stayed put in the capital when Hadi and his government fled to the port city of Aden earlier this year. Bahah and his government have recently returned to Aden after the government and resistance fighters drove Al Houthis out of the city in July.
At the same time, key members of the dominant GPC fired Saleh from the leadership of the party, and referred him to external prosecution for supporting Al Houthi militants who took power in September last year. The members, mostly former right-hand men of Saleh, said from Riyadh that they backed Hadi and military operations by the Saudi-led coalition against Al Houthis and Saleh’s forces.
Read out by Ahmad Obaid Bin Daghar, a senior leader of the party who continued to back Saleh until after the beginning of the military operations in March, the statement said: “The gathering has decided to refer Saleh and those who stand by him to regulatory authorities in the party to hold them accountable for their crimes against Yemenis, their country and its social union and the party that gave them its confidence.”
Founded by Saleh in early 1980s, the GPC ruled the country for three decades and has gone through a series of defections in which many leading members changed sides and supported Saleh’s opponents.
After the so-called Arab Spring inspired rallies against Saleh’s regime in February 2011, some of his close allies backed the protesters and called on him to leave office. Hadi was unseated by Al Houthis in January this year; he was the second in command of the party and Saleh’s deputy for 18 years. Founding members of the party including Abdul Kareem Al Aryani, a veteran politician, accused Saleh of using Al Houthis to overthrow Hadi.
The latest group of Saleh’s close friends deserted him and arrived in the Saudi capital in May and publicly supported Hadi in his war against Al Houthis.
But Saleh always refused to admit to a split in his party. In an interview with the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television broadcast on Monday, the embattled leader underplayed the defection and accused pro-Hadi members of being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia to remove him from the party.
In the interview, Saleh vowed to honour a peace plan brokered by the United Nations in talks in Oman and to quit Yemeni cities if the Saudi-led Arab alliance stopped air strikes on the country.
He also said that he was ready to quit his position as head of GPC to facilitate an end to the fighting.
Al Houthis and Saleh’s GPC last week sent letters to UN chief Ban Ki-moon declaring their acceptance of the peace plan, which includes a Security Council resolution adopted in April calling on Al Houthis to vacate the cities captured since September last year.
But a spokesman for Hadi dismissed the acceptance as a “manoeuvre” and demanded that the Iran-backed group hand back territory it had seized since last year.
In Monday’s interview, Saleh said: “We had reached a 10-point agreement with the UN envoy in Muscat, and we later reached [an agreement] of seven points which we and Ansar Allah [Al Houthis] accepted, but until now the other side has not because they only want a dialogue through the gun. This seven-point agreement needs a mechanism for each point. Who will prepare this mechanism? The United Nations.”

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