President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the head of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, has made a rare visit to the war-torn country for a meeting of its divided parliament.
The government said some 141 members of the 301-strong assembly attended the meeting, seen as aimed at consolidating the Hadi government’s legitimacy disputed by rebels. The assembly was elected in 2003, but its mandate has been extended several times due to election delays over instability in the country.
Yemen’s Saudi-backed government led by Hadi and the Houthi forces have been engaged in a power struggle since late 2014, resulting in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.
The implementation of a UN-brokered peace deal reached in December has since been in limbo.
“This extraordinary session is held in a historic moment as we stand in a crossroad between choices of war and peace,” Hadi said.
“Hasn’t the time come to lay down arms and initiate peace? We stretch out our hands with peace to the Houthis,” he told the parliamentary session.
During the meeting, parliamentarians elected Sultan al-Burkani of the General People’s Congress (GPC) of late former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh as their new speaker.
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