Yemen: Saudi-backed President open for military action

A man looks at the Houthi-controlled headquarters of the Yemeni army destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa Yemen

The dispute with Yemen's Houthi rebels is not a political issue that can be resolved on the negotiating tables, President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said on Thursday.

Speaking in NY on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi also told the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya channel that a plan to hand over control of the country's main port to a neutral party remained blocked by the Houthis and their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Hadi has the backing of the Saudi-led Arab coalition in his fight against the Houthis.

Yemen descended into a conflict two years ago after Houthis, associated with former President Saleh, and with the support of Iran took control of capital Sanaa, forcing Hadi to flee briefly to Saudi Arabia before coming back to the country's second city of Aden.

Yemen's dominant Shiite Houthi rebels on Sunday released an opponent journalist after they granted him amnesty over accusations of collaborating with their foe of Saudi-led coalition, Houthis said in a statement.

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The fighting has caused a humanitarian catastrophe which the United Nations says is the world's worst, pushing seven million people to the brink of starvation and sparking a cholera outbreak that the World Health Organisation says has killed 2,000 people.

Iranians official sources this month noted that Saudi Arabia sought Teheran's help in advancing peace talks.

Hadi said his government is on the same page as the Trump administration with a common goal "to increase pressure on the Houthis and on Iran".

"The American position now is better than it was under (hir predecessor Barack) Obama, because Obama's priority was getting the nuclear deal", which had allowed Iran to "expand" its influence, he said. For me the deal instead expanded the Islamic Republic's influence in the region.

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