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Yemen's Houthi rebels call for dialogue with Saudi-led coalition after killing ex-president for 'backing Riyadh' Open in fullscreen

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Yemen's Houthi rebels call for dialogue with Saudi-led coalition after killing ex-president for 'backing Riyadh'

On Monday, Houthi fighters killed Saleh as he tried to flee the capital [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 December, 2017

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Yemen's Houthi rebels have called for peace talks with a Saudi-led coalition, a day after killing their former ally ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh for siding with Riyadh and its allies.

Yemen's Houthi rebels have called for direct peace talks with a Saudi-led coalition, a day after killing their former ally ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh for siding with Riyadh and its allies.

Saleh al-Sammad, head of the Houthi's political council, made the comments on Monday in a televised speech aired on the rebel-run al-Masirah TV.

"We invite the aggressor states to end their aggression and blockade and to engage in serious dialogue with the Republic of Yemen... to bring about security and stability," Sammad said.

He also praised the "honourable role" of Saleh's General People's Congress party and called on it to take part in the proposed talks.

"They have our full assurances that they rights are reserved as key partners in the administration of the country," Sammad added.

On Monday, Houthi fighters killed Saleh as he tried to flee the capital for his nearby hometown of Sanhan.

The Houthis' top leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, said Saleh paid the price for his "treason," accusing him of betraying their alliance to side with the Saudi-led coalition.

Saleh on Saturday announced the end of his alliance with the Houthi rebels, with whom he has jointly ruled the capital for three years.

The 75-year-old strongman announced he was open to talks with Saudi Arabia and its allies on condition they ended their crippling blockade on Yemen's ports and airports - dealing a serious blow to his already fragile alliance with the Iran-backed Houthis.

Heavy airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition rocked Yemen's capital on Tuesday, striking Sanaa's densely populated neighbourhoods in apparent retaliation for the killing of Saleh.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the rebels had thrown its support behind Saleh just hours before his death.

Saleh's body, which had appeared in a video by the militias with a gaping head wound, was taken to a rebel-controlled military hospital.

The Gulf Cooperation Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the Houthi rebels for killing Saleh.

The GCC called for unity among Yemeni groups and parties, including the party of Saleh, to "get rid of the Houthi militias which are following and being backed by Iran".

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