Last updated: 1 November, 2014

Yemen rivals agree on government of technocrats

Shiite rebels and their political rivals in Yemen agreed Saturday on the formation of a government of technocrats to resolve the crisis gripping the country, an official source said.

The accord was signed by the main political parties late on Saturday in the presence of UN envoy Jamal Benomar at a ceremony in a Sanaa hotel, an AFP journalist reported.

Representatives of the Huthi rebels, also known as Ansarullah, and their rivals including the Sunni Islamist Al-Islah party signed the deal in which they “mandated President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah to form a competent government” and “agreed to support” the cabinet, the source 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, Ansarullah increased pressure on Hadi by giving him 10 days to form a new government or face creation of a “national salvation council”.

With the exception of the October 13 appointment of Bahah as premier, a September 21 deal with the rebels has remained a dead letter.

Under the UN-sponsored accord, the Huthis 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.