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Yemeni president hands power to new body as his Saudi supporters seek end to war


BEIRUT, Lebanon — Yemen’s exiled president resigned on Thursday and handed over power to a presidential council, a sweeping reshuffle backed by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies and aimed at reinvigorating efforts to end the war of seven years that shook Saudi Arabia. Peninsula.

President Abdu Rabbuh Mansour Hadi announced his abdication just days after a two-month ceasefire came into effect, another sign that Saudi Arabia and its allies may be seeking a way out. ‘bloodshed. Hadi has delegated the new presidential council to lead the government and hold peace talks with Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control Yemen’s capital Sana and the northwest of the country.

The move was the most significant effort to reorganize anti-Houthi forces in Yemen since the start of the war. But analysts have raised questions about its effectiveness in advancing the peace process given the divergent positions of the eight council members.

“This is very clearly an attempt, perhaps a last ditch effort, to restore something resembling unity within the anti-Houthi alliance,” said Gregory Johnsen, a former member of the United Nations Panel of Experts for Yemen. wrote on Twitter. “The problem is that it’s unclear how these different individuals, many of whom have diametrically opposed viewpoints, can work together.”

The new push to end the war follows seven years of fierce fighting that has shattered the Yemeni state, spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and undermined the security of wealthy oil-producing Gulf monarchies allied with the states. -United.

The war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Houthis seized Sana and the northwest, sending the government and Mr Hadi into exile. Months later, an Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a massive bombing campaign aimed at pushing back the Houthis and restoring the government.

But the conflict has settled into a stalemate and devolved into an increasingly vicious proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran, which has helped the Houthis develop drones and missiles that struck deep in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another coalition member, damaging oil infrastructure.

After initially telling the United States that the coalition could quickly defeat the Houthis, Saudi officials have more recently sought ways to end the war, which has tarnished the kingdom’s reputation and taxed its finances.

Hadi’s abdication appears to have been brokered, if not orchestrated, by Saudi Arabia, which since last week has hosted hundreds of Yemenis representing different political groups in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, for talks due to conclude on Thursday .

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the transition by pledging $3 billion in aid to the Yemeni government, including $1 billion to bolster the Yemeni central bank, which has failed to prevent the value of the national currency to fall.

Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman met with members of the presidential council on Thursday. Footage released by the Saudi news service showed him shaking hands and exchanging kisses on the cheek.



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