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Hadi urges Yemenis to join fight against Iran-backed Houthis after ex-president Saleh shot dead

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JEDDAH — Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday rallied his countrymen in areas controlled by Houthis to rise up against the Iran-backed militia, who had just murdered their erstwhile ally former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In a televised address, Hadi said the Yemeni Army, which has surrounded Sanaa, was ready to support all efforts that aimed to eradicate the Houthis.

“Yemen is passing through a decisive turning point that needs our unity and steadfastness in the face of these sectarian militias,” Hadi said, adding, “Let’s put our hands together to end this nightmare.”

The legitimate Yemeni government had extended its hand to all sincere Yemeni citizens to start a new page in the country’s future and to establish a new Yemen, based on pluralism, democracy and freedom, he said.

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Former president Saleh was shot dead on Monday itself after taking sides in Yemen’s civil war, abandoning his Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favour of a Saudi-led coalition, foes and supporters said.

Sources in the Houthi militia said its fighters stopped Saleh’s armoured vehicle with an RPG rocket outside the embattled capital Sanaa and then shot him dead. Sources in Saleh’s party confirmed he died in an attack on his convoy.

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, in a televised speech,congratulated the Yemeni people for what he described as a victory against a “conspiracy of treason” engineered by the group’s Gulf Arab enemies without mentioning Saleh’s death.

Saleh, 75, had said in a speech on Saturday that he was ready for a “new page” in ties with the coalition and called the Houthis a “coup militia”, leading them to accuse him of betrayal.

With Agency Inputs

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US ready to talk to North Korea without preconditions

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WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Washington is ready to begin talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, without pre-conditions.

“We’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions,” Tillerson told a meeting on the crisis at the Atlantic Council policy forum in Washington.

Tillerson’s new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

“Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about,” Tillerson said.

This appeared to represent a softening in the US position, seeing as officials had previously demanded that Kim Jong-Un’s regime demonstrate a willingness to consider giving up its arsenal.

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But, the White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Donald Trump — who has said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea — had given his approval for the speech.

“The president’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said adding, “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way … North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un has vowed to make North Korea the “world’s strongest nuclear power,” tate media reported Wednesday.

Mr Kim told workers behind the recent test of a new missile that his country “will victoriously advance and leap as the strongest nuclear power and military power in the world,” in a ceremony on Tuesday, according to state news agency KCNA.

GNN/Reuters

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