Yemen rivals agree on government of technocrats

Yemeni activists shout slogans during a rally in Sanaa, on November 1, 2014, against the control by Houthi fighters on the country’s main cities.

Yemeni activists shout slogans during a rally in Sanaa, on November 1, 2014, against the control by Houthi fighters on the country’s main cities.

Yemen’s main political factions, including the Houthi rebels, signed a deal on Saturday tasking the president and prime minister to form a new government in an effort to defuse political tensions that have crippled the impoverished state.

The accord was signed by the main political parties late on Saturday in the presence of U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar at a ceremony in a Sanaa hotel, Agence France-Presse reported.

Representatives of the Houthi rebels and their rivals including the Sunni Islamist Al-Islah party signed the deal in which they mandated Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah will head the selection of the new ministers with consultation from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, an statement emailed from the 13 political parties said.

“It is a compromise agreed to overcome the question of sharing out ministerial portfolios between the various groups” behind the political stalemate, signatory Abdel Aziz Jubari of the liberal Justice and Construction party told AFP.

The chaos in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country was compounded when Ansarullah fighters seized Sanaa on September 21 and later expanded their sphere of influence into central and west Yemen.

On Friday, the Houthis increased pressure on Hadi by giving him 10 days to form a new government or face creation of a “national salvation council.”

Under the U.N.-sponsored accord, the Houthis were to withdraw from Sanaa and disarm once a neutral prime minister is named.

The rebels say they are filling the void left by the security forces and standing up to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, viewed by Washington as the deadliest franchise of the global extremist network.

 
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