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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Yemeni parties boycott dialogue with Houthis

Houthi militants forcefully dispersed an anti-Houthi protest

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Three more Yemeni parties, including Islamist ones, have decided to join the Socialist Party in boycotting a UN-backed dialogue with the Shiite Houthi movement Anadolu Agency reported
Earlier on Sunday, the Socialist Party said it had decided to suspend its dialogue with the Houthis after they attacked a protest by party student members in capital Sanaa and kidnapped some of the protesting students.
The three new parties following in the footsteps of the Socialist Party included the Muslim Brotherhood's Al-Islah (Reform) Party.
They also included the Salafist Rashad Party and the leftist Unionist People's Organization.
All three parties separately announced that they would quit the dialogue, which aimed to reach a political settlement to the crisis in Yemen.
"Al-Islah will hold a meeting with its allies to form a unified stance against the practices of the Houthi movement," party spokesman, Said Shamsan, told The Anadolu Agency.
Rashad Party, meanwhile, said that its leaders had turned down an invitation by UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, to attend a meeting with the Houthis on Sunday.
"The party rejects the Houthis' violent way of imposing their own choices," a party source told AA.
Similarly, the Unionist People's Organization Party said it had withdrawn from Sunday's meeting in protest against the Houthi's violent dispersal of a protest outside Sanaa University earlier on Sunday.
"The Houthi's intransigence spoils the talks," the party's Secretary-General, Abdullah Noaman, said.
Earlier on Sunday, Yemen's Socialist Party, a component of the current government, said Houthi militants forcefully dispersed an anti-Houthi protest in Sanaa and kidnapped several protesters along with two photographers.
Last week, Sanaa was rocked by deadly clashes between Houthi militants and presidential guards amid an apparent push by the Shiite militants to consolidate their control over the country.
The Houthis seized control of Sanaa in September before moving on to establish control over other parts of the country as well.
Yemen has remained in the throes of turmoil since President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012 under pressure from a months-long popular uprising against his 33-year rule.

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