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Hadi rep dismisses Kerry's remarks on Yemen truce

Former Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi

A representative of Yemen’s former government has rejected remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry that forces loyal to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have agreed to a ceasefire.

"The government of Yemen is not aware of the statements made by Mr. Kerry and does not consider itself committed to them," former foreign minister Abdel Malek al-Mekhlafi said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Kerry said that both the Houthi Ansarullah movement and an alliance of militants loyal to Hadi had agreed to a cessation of hostilities starting on November 17.

Mekhlafi, however, stated that the remarks had been attributed to Kerry in "a bid to derail peace efforts and to reach agreements with the Houthis without the government."

Hadi resigned and fled the capital Sana’a in March last year. Saudi Arabia has been a waging a destructive bombing campaign against Yemen since March 2015, killing thousands in an attempt to restore Hadi to power.

Houthi fighters have been defending Yemen against the Saudi aggression.

Yemeni people stand near the bodies of those killed in al-Zaydiya security headquarters in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, that was destroyed in Saudi airstrikes October 30, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The Houthis, whom Kerry said had met with him in Oman a day earlier, are yet to confirm their commitment to the truce.

Kerry also said the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia "have both agreed to try to move forward with this. They believe it makes sense." Abu Dhabi has been assisting Riyadh in its bombing campaign.

The Saudi military is accused of recurrently violating previous truces.

Kerry also spoke about efforts to set up a new government of national unity in a "safe and secure Sana’a... towards the end of the year."

"The key is now to get everybody on board," he said, adding that it was essential to implement a UN peace roadmap drawn up by the world body’s special Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The pro-Hadi camp has already rejected the peace plan, saying it would reward the Houthis.

"We have to have the final pieces, but I'm very hopeful that this can really come together, and has the potential to be a real turning point in this conflict, providing that everybody does their part," Kerry concluded.

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