Yemen conflict: President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi steps down, after cabinet resigns amid stand-off with Shia rebels

The President and cabinet resigned in quick succession

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The Independent Online

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has stepped down, the same day the Yemeni cabinet submitted its resignation to him amid a stand-off with Shia rebels who control the capital, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi quit after being pressured to make concessions to Houthi rebels, who had held him in his presidential palace for the past two days.

Hadi resigned after the UN envoy for Yemen met with Houthi representatives and other political factions to try to implement a deal reached Wednesday to end the crisis.

As his government was viewed as a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, Hadi's resignation has wider implications.

US State Department officials responded to the news by saying Washington is prepared to adjust its presence in Yemen "as necessary", but added safety is paramount and there is no current change in posture.

Earlier, Prime Minister Khaled Baha posted his resignation on his official Facebook page, saying he had held office in “very complicated circumstances”.

Baha's government was formed in November as part of a UN-brokered peace deal after the Houthis overran the capital in September.

Offering his government's resignation to Hadi, he said he did not want to be dragged into “an unconstructive political maze” - an apparent reference to a stand-off between Hadi and Yemen's powerful Houthi movement.

 

“We don't want to be a party to what is happening or will happen,” he added.

Wednesday's agreement was struck as rebels confined Hadi in his private home. It stipulated that the group's militias were to withdraw from the presidential palace and key areas of the capital which they have overrun in recent days. in return for political concessions.

But twenty-four hours after signing the deal, heavily armed Shia rebels remained stationed outside Hadi's house and the presidential palace.

Yemen's emerging power vacuum has raised fears that the country's dangerous al-Qaeda branch, which claimed the recent attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, will only grow more powerful and popular as the nation slides toward fragmentation and the conflict takes on an increasingly sectarian tone. The Shia Houthis and the Sunni terror group are sworn enemies.

Additional reporting by PA and Reuters

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