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Yemen's Hadi would only give way to 'elected' leader

AFP , Monday 5 Dec 2016

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi would cede power only to an "elected" leader, after rejecting a UN peace roadmap asking him to hand over to a deputy, an official said Monday.

Hadi made his statement during talks last week in Aden with UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has begun a new attempt to restart negotiations between the government and Iran-backed rebels.

The official said the roadmap, whose content was not made public, requires Hadi to cede power to a vice president named in agreement with the rebels, a plan the president rejected.

Hadi referred to a former peace plan brokered by Gulf states, which stipulated that he would supervise the country's political transition.

"The roadmap has contradicted the Gulf initiative in terms of the president's powers," the official told AFP, adding that Hadi should run Yemen during the transition and supervise national dialogue and elections.

"He would pass his powers to an elected president," the official said.

The Gulf initiative eased former president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power in 2012 after 33 years in office following a year of nationwide protests. It also led to Hadi's election the same year.

But in a blow to the political transition, Saleh allied himself with Shiite Huthi rebels who overran the capital in 2014 and expanded their control across Yemen, forcing Hadi to flee to Riyadh in March 2015.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened the same month in support of Hadi's government.

In his response to the UN mediator, Hadi demanded that Saleh and rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Huthi "abandon politics and be forced into a country of exile of their choice for 10 years".

More than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded since Yemen's conflict escalated after the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in March 2015.

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