A new top Yemeni official has promised to work for peace

CAIRO — On Friday, the head of Yemen’s international recognized government stated that the council he was appointed to manage will help end Yemen’s eight-year-old civil war.

In his first broadcast address, Rashad Al-Alimi thanked Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their support in fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Al-Alimi’s speech comes as both sides trade accusations of breaking the week-old internationally brokered cease-fire that was ushered in at the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Although the truce should last for two months, similar attempts to end Yemeni conflict in the past have failed.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi stood down. This move was likely to have been orchestrated in Riyadh and he transferred his power to the presidency council led by al-Alimi.

“This council is one of peace but also of strength and defense,” he stated.

The new country head of government did not mention any agreement with the Houthis. He thanked the U.N. and U.S. envoys to Yemen for their efforts but also praised all who attempted to “take back the country and its institutions.”

On Friday, both sides said they had documented some 80 violations of the cease-fire in just the past day, in reports published on their official media. Hans Grundberg, the United Nations’ Envoy to Yemen, expressed concern about recent reports that there had been violations of the cease-fire.

Yemen was engulfed in a civil war when the Houthis took Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen. The Houthis forced the government to flee. To restore power to the government, a coalition of Saudi Arabian-led forces, which included the United Arab Emirates entered into the conflict in the early 2015.

The conflict has in recent years become a regional proxy war that has killed more than 150,000 people, including over 14. 500 civilians. This has created the most severe humanitarian crisis in history.

Al-Alimi expressed gratitude to the police, armed forces and militias of the country for their resistance against the rebels in his speech. He referred to the Houthis as an “Iranian-project.”

Houthi media claimed most of the cease-fire violations over the past 24 hours were in the key rebel-held port city of Hodeida. The Yemeni government claimed it recorded violations at several fronts throughout the country including Marib which they have attempted to take for more than a year.

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