Talks with al-Houthi, hopeful prospects [Archives:2004/760/Front Page]

August 2 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Sana'a, 31 July The 26-member mediation committee chaired by Assistant Secretary-General of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform Party (Islah), Abdulwahab al-A'nisi, maintained Saturday its good offices for containing the confrontation which has been going on for about 45 days between government forces and supporters of cleric sheik Hussein Badrudin Al-Houthi.
A source close to Sheik al-Houthi said that al-Houthi welcomed receiving members of the committee in small groups as he received on Saturday morning the first group comprised of five members, namely, Air Force Brigadier General Mohammed Shaef Jarallah, from the Shura Council, Sheik Mohammed Abdullah Badrudin; member of parliament, Sheik Mohammed Thawaba, Sheik Saleh al-Wajman and member of parliament for the ruling party Yahya Badrudin al-Houthi, brother of sheik Hussein al-Houthi.
The source added that intermittent skirmishes were still being heard, accusing some military elements are behind such incidents in an attempt to impede mediation efforts scheduled to continue for one week.
On his part, one member of the committee, who asked not to be identified, told Yemen Times in a telephone statement confirmed success of mediators in obtaining pledges from sheik al-Houthi and field military commanders to abide by cease-fire decision but he did not deny happening of some skirmishes without causing any casualties between the two sides. He added that ,” The situation in Haydan and nearby areas have become under control, ” and that the five members of the mediation committee who had met Saturday with al-Houthi for paving the way for the plenary meeting, had expressed their satisfaction over results of the meeting.
In the light of the results achieved by the small committee, a large-scale study was scheduled to be conducted on Sunday among the 26-member committee in the city of Sa'ada to define a mechanism for the next steps in the dialogue with sheik al-Houthi, expressing his optimism in their success unless there would be some unexpected hindrances blocking the way to reaching necessary conclusions for the crisis.