Yemen minister rejects Saleh’s call for peace talks

Published April 26th, 2015 - 06:36 GMT

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen denounced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's call for peace talks Sunday, rejecting Saleh's involvement in discussions for the country's future, Reuters reported.

Saleh's loyalists have been fighting alongside Houthi rebels as the Saudi-led coalition continues its air campaign in support of the internationally backed government. The former leader called for political dialogue Friday. 

"These calls are unacceptable after all the destruction Ali Abdullah Saleh has caused," Yaseen said at a London news conference. "There can be no place for Saleh in any future political talks."

Yaseen said serious discussions cannot take place until the air campaign is over and the Houthis concede their control. Despite Saudi Arabia's announcement last week that it ended its airstrikes, the next day the kingdom launched more on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia said it would continue responding to Houthi "aggression" with military force. 

"There can be no deal with the Houthis until they withdraw from areas under their control," Yaseen said. 

The Houthis took control of the capital in September and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of office and, eventually, into exile. 

The death toll in Yemen has topped 1,000, many of the casualties coming from Saudi Arabia's airstrikes. 

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