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President tenders resignation deepening Yemen chaos

AFP , Thursday 22 Jan 2015
Yemen
Houthi fighters ride a truck while patrolling a street in Sanaa January 21, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)
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Yemen's president tendered his resignation Thursday after a week-long standoff with Shiite militia but the speaker of parliament refused to accept it and called an emergency session, officials said.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, submitted his resignation just hours after receiving the resignations of Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and his cabinet, presidential adviser Sultan al-Atwani said.

Their resignations came after a week in which the Shiite militia, who have controlled much of the capital since last September, abducted a top Hadi aide, overran his palace and laid siege to the prime minister's residence for two days.

But parliament speaker refused to accept Hadi's resignation when it was submitted by aides and called an emergency meeting of lawmakers for Friday, a senior official told AFP.

"Parliament represented by speaker Yahia al-Rai refused to accept the president's resignation and decided to call an extraordinary session for Friday morning," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The prime minister, who was only released from the militia siege of his residence on Wednesday, said in his resignation letter that he did not want to be party to the collapse of the country.

Bahah said that from the time of his nomination in November to his confirmation by parliament in December he had tried to serve the country.

"But the situation has evolved in a different manner and we decided to stay away from unconstructive policies that do not respect the rule of law," he said.

"Therefore we submitted our resignation to the president and to the Yemeni people, because we do not want to be a party in what is happening and what is about to happen," he said.

Bahah insisted in his letter of resignation that he and his government refuse "to take responsibility for actions by others".

He offered his "apologies to the patient people of Yemen" and said: "We pray to Allah to protect Yemen."

Shiite militiamen maintained a tight grip on Yemen's capital Thursday with fighters deployed around the presidential palace despite an agreement with Hadi on Wednesday to withdraw in return for political concessions.

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