Yemeni general backs peace deal, 10 militants killed
SANAA (Reuters) - A dissident army general said on Sunday he backed a peace accord signed last month, lending support to efforts to pull Yemen from the brink of civil war, as officials said ten Islamist militants died in attacks by government forces in the south.
General Ali Mohsen's announcement came one day after both his forces, and troops loyal to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, began withdrawing from the capital Sanaa as part of the Gulf-brokered peace deal.
"We are ready to support the Gulf initiative, which was bolstered by Security Council resolution 2014," Mohsen told reporters at a news conference in Sanaa, referring to the resolution adopted by the U.N. body in October endorsing the Gulf peace proposal.
He was speaking before a meeting with representatives of the European Union, the Gulf Cooperative Council and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, as part of efforts to win support from factions excluded from the peace accord signed in Saudi Arabia last month.
The diplomats had earlier met separatist leaders in Aden and U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar visited Shi'ite rebels in Saada province in northern Yemen.
Last month, Saleh signed the accord to transfer his powers to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ushering in an opposition-led Yemeni government to lead the country to early presidential elections in February 2012.
If the deal goes according to plan, Saleh will become the fourth Arab ruler brought down by mass demonstrations that have reshaped the political landscape of the Middle East.
Mohsen's troops had been among the opposition forces controlling the Yemeni capital's northern half, where they had battled the pro-Saleh army for control over Sanaa.
Under supervision of a military committee set up by the Gulf peace deal, Mohsen's troops had pulled back on Saturday. Continued...