Two parties quit resumed Yemen crisis talks citing Houthi threats

by Reuters
Monday, 9 February 2015 12:34 GMT

Yemen's years-long political crisis risks escalating into a full-blown civil war

* Yemeni parties resume talks to resolve political crisis

* Two parties quit talks saying they threatened by Houthis

* Shi'ite Houthis are dominant force in Yemen today

SANAA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Two parties walked out of resumed talks on Yemen's political crisis on Monday after saying they had received threats from the country's dominant Houthi movement.

Yemen's years-long political crisis risks escalating into a full-blown civil war pitting regional, political, tribal and sectarian rivals against each other in a nation that shares a long border with top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Western countries also fear that further chaos in Yemen could give more space to a branch of al Qaeda based there, which has attempted to launch attacks on international airliners.

Islah, a big opposition party that merges Islamist and tribal interests, and the smaller Nasserist Organisation, quit Monday's first round of talks saying they had been threatened by a Houthi representative at the negotiations, Mehdi al-Meshaat.

"He (Meshaat) wanted to impose the choices of the group by force," said Nasserite Organisation secretary general Abdullah al-Noman.

The Shi'ite Houthis seized control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa last September after a decade-long rebellion and overran the homes of top officials last month, leading former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign.

Last Friday the Houthi group, headed by Abdel-Malik al Houthi, said it would impose a new "presidential council" on Yemen in a unilateral declaration that was initially rejected by most other factions in the country.

However, on Sunday the United Nations envoy Jamal Benomar said new talks between the Houthis and other parties to resolve the crisis would take place.

(Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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