Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he is open to talks with a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthirebels, in what the fighters called “a coup” against their fragile alliance with the ousted president.
Saleh made the comments on Saturday, as deadly infighting between forces loyal to him and Houthi rebels continued for a fourth day.
The former allies have been fighting the Saudi-led coalition for control of the country since March 2015, when Riyadh and several other Arab Sunnistates intervened to reinstate the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
In October, the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen imposed a total blockade on the impoverished country after a rebel missile was shot down near Riyadh.
Last week, amid international pressure over the suffering of millions of Yemenis, some humanitarian aid was allowed to enter Yemen.
“I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries … to stop their aggression and lift the blockade … and we will turn the page,” Saleh said in a televised speech on Saturday.
“We vow to our brothers and neighbours that, after a ceasefire is in place and the blockade is lifted … we will hold dialogue directly through the legitimate authority represented by our parliament,” added Saleh.
A Houthi spokesman was quick to denounce Saleh’s comments, accusing the former president of staging a “coup”.