Yemen's Saleh appeals for reason from rebels, Qaeda



SANAA- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appealed for reason from Shiite rebels in the north, separatists in the south and Al-Qaeda militants in an article published on Friday to mark the new year.
Saleh urged the Zaidi rebels to agree to the conditions laid down by the Sanaa government for a return to peace, saying they should cease hostilities, withdraw from official buildings and respect the law.



Yemen's Saleh appeals for reason from rebels, Qaeda
"If these elements accept this plea for peace, the state will offer the hand of peace," he wrote in the government daily Al-Thawra.
Yemen's government has been engaged in sporadic fighting with the rebels, also known as Huthis, since 2004.
On August 11, government forces launched "Operation Scorched Earth," an all-out offensive to stamp out the uprising among the Zaidis, a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but the majority group in the northern mountains.
Addressing those in the troubled south who aspire to secession, Saleh called on them to "be reasonable and renounce violence and the propagation of a culture of hate."
He also wrote that there was no question of "sacrificing unity (between north and south in 1990), which is a subject of both pride and a binding element for all Yemenis."
Turning to the government struggle against Al-Qaeda, Saleh said: "As a new year begins, young people who allow themselves to be fooled by elements of Al-Qaeda should pause to reflect and return to reason.
"It is time to lower weapons and renounce violence and terrorism. You must save your lives and become good citizens again," he said.
Yemeni forces last month launched raids on suspected Al-Qaeda targets in the centre of the country and the Sanaa region, killing more than 60 Islamist militants. Several rebels were also wounded in clashes this week.
Finally, the president called for talks with the country's legal opposition, urging it to choose "entente and turn its back on disputes."
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Friday, January 1st 2010
AFP
           


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