Yemeni gov't, rebels ink new peace deal in Doha

14:59, August 28, 2010      

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Representatives of the Yemeni government and northern Shiite rebels signed an agreement in the Qatari capital Doha to cement a fragile ceasefire in northern Yemen that ended sporadic battles since 2004, a top official told Xinhua on Friday.

The agreement, which was mediated by the Qatari government, contains the items of the returning of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their home villages, the release of all rebel detainees from government's jails and providing humanitarian aids including food and medicines to the local residents of Saada, said the senior security official of the Interior ministry, who spoke condition of anonymity.

The agreement was sealed late Thursday and also stipulated a timetable for implementing previous truce deals, including the 2008 Doha peace agreement and the Feb. 11, 2010 ceasefire deal, as well as the new Doha truce agreement to end the war in northern Yemen, according to the official.

The official told Xinhua that those earlier mentioned points of the 2008 Doha peace agreement and Feb. 11, 2010 ceasefire deal were the priority of the new Doha deal and the reconstruction of the war-striken area will be launched later.

On Tuesday, peace talks mediated by Qatar kicked off in Doha between representatives of the Yemeni government and rebels to shore up a fragile ceasefire in northern Yemen, according to a spokesman of the Yemeni Foreign Ministry.

"The two sides have already begun wide-ranging negotiations to reach a final reconciliation about the conflict in northern Yemeni province of Saada," the spokesman, who asked not to be named, told Xinhua on phone.

Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and the Shiite rebels, also known as Houthis, whom the government accused of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the 1962 Yemeni revolution which created the Yemeni republic.

The government and rebels sealed a peace deal brokered by Qatar at the beginning of 2008 in Doha to end the long-running war in Saada between the two sides.

According to the agreement, both sides should stop military operations and the rebels should hand over to the authorities the military equipment, respect the sovereignty of the central government in all Yemeni territories and establish a political party instead of the armed movement.

On Aug. 26, 2009, the Yemeni government said the Doha peace agreement with Houthi rebels was over, accusing the Shiite group of violating the agreement, during which the sixth round of war between the two sides erupted.

On Feb. 11, 2010, the government and Shiite rebels struck another cease-fire agreement to end the conflict.

The agreement include full withdrawal of rebel forces from all districts they occupied and removal of all road blocks, coming down from their hideouts at the mountains, returning all military and public equipment seized during battles, releasing detained military personnel and kidnapped civilians and abiding by the Yemeni constitution and law.

Later, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh added a new condition, calling on the rebels to stop infiltrating into neighboring Saudi Arabia.

However, both sides repeatedly traded accusations against each other over breaching the truce after the agreement.

On July 13, the Yemeni president and emir of Qatar agreed to reactivate the Doha-mediated 2008 peace agreement between the Yemeni government and the rebels.

According to a July report by the UN refugee agency UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the internally displaced persons who fled their home since 2004 due to the conflict between the government and the rebels has reached 342, 000.

Source: Xinhua


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