Yemen's Saleh says 'citizens have revolted against Houthi aggression'

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh addresses a rally held to mark the 35th anniversary of the establishment of his General People's Congress party in Sanaa

Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh said he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels, in what the rebels called "a coup" against their fragile alliance with the ousted president.

Diab says the Saudi-coalition forces are not too far from the capital, and the Houthis have become widely despised due to shortages of food, water, medicine and money.

"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries.to stop their aggression and lift the blockade. and we will turn the page", Saleh said. Violent clashes between rival factions in Yemen's rebel-held capital signal the disintegration of the rebel alliance at war with a Saudi-led coalition for almost three years.

Mr Saleh, who led Yemen for more than 30 years, was deposed in a 2011 uprising. "Saleh's speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership... and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression", a spokesman for the group said in a statement carried by the rebels' Al Masirah TV.

Saleh went on to denounce the Houthi militia, which he accuses of being responsible for the humanitarian disaster inside the country, and he insisted that the Yemeni people are standing up for themselves to get rid of them. Hadi ran uncontested, won a landslide victory and was expected to resign two years later, but failed to do so amid increasing pressure from the Houthi rebels.

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He also points up that Saleh's move represents a turning point in the situation inside the country, in which the tables have been turned against the Houthis, and the situation has returned to the status-quo prior to September 2014, when the Houthis seized chunks of the capital from former president Hadi.

The two groups have been fighting the government of current President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed by the Saudi-led coalition, for almost three years. In 2015 he fled to Saudi Arabia, which used its military force in a bid to place him back in power in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh's remarks.

For coalition, former president betrayed Arabs by joining Huthi, a militia that emerged at end of last century to improve living conditions of Zaydí minority (a branch of Shi'a Islam that follows one-third of Yemenis) and that Saudi Arabia considers an Inst Rumeno of his rival Iran.

The conflict and a blockade by the coalition has also left more than 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid, created the world's largest food security emergency, and led to a cholera outbreak that is thought to have killed 2,211 people since April.

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