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Former Yemen president urges rebels to comply with Security Council decisions

Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh urged Shiite rebel groups in his country to comply with the UN Security Council's decisions. He called on all warring factions to withdraw from all provinces.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former Shiite president, asked his Houthi rebel allies to stop fighting in return for a halt to airstrikes conducted by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

"I call on Ansarullah [Shiite Houthi rebels] to accept all UN Security Council decisions and to implement them in return for a halt in the coalition forces' aggression," Saleh said in a statement. "I urge them and everyone - militias and al Qaeda, as well as militias loyal to [President Abed Rabbo Mansour] Hadi - to withdraw from all provinces, especially Aden."

The former president also called on all conflicting parties to "return to dialogue" and said he was ready to reconcile with all factions.

"I call on all parties without exception - even political opponents who have been against me since 2011 - to talk and show forgiveness. I will forgive everybody in the interests of the nation," Saleh said.

Saleh heads the General People's Congress Party and is believed to have considerable influence on the country's Houthi rebels. He ruled for 33 years before an uprising in 2011 forced him to give up power.

Earlier this month,

the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo

on Saleh, his son Ahmed and the rebel leaders, demanding that the Houthis withdraw from government institutions they had seized last year in September.

More than 550 civilians have died after

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes

a few weeks later, in an attempt to rout Houthi rebels who had taken over the port city of Aden and driven President Hadi out of the country. Hadi has meanwhile taken refuge in Riyadh.

mg/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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