Yemen's Hadi would only abandon position for 'elected' leader

Yemen's Hadi would only abandon position for 'elected' leader
President Hadi will only cede power to an "elected leader", an official said on Monday, after the leader rejected a UN peace roadmap last week.
2 min read
06 December, 2016
The Yemeni leader left Riyadh for Aden last week [Getty]

Yemen's Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi would relinquish his position as president only to an "elected" leader, after rejecting a UN peace roadmap asking him to hand over to a deputy, an official said on 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 Houthi 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 Houthi 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, which relocated to the temporary capital in the southern coastal city of Aden.

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

Late last month, Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he has been preparing "for a new round" of peace talks, after a previous round held in Kuwait collapsed in August.

The UN envoy said his visit to Hadi in Aden last week was a "message of respect" for the president, in videotaped comments sent to reporters.

The aim of his mission was to "return to dialogue and a peaceful solution", Ould Cheikh Ahmed said, reporting "much positivity" from Hadi during their first meeting.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and more than 3 million have been forced to flee their homes since Yemen's conflict escalated after the Saudi-led military coalition intervened last year.