February 21, 2015 / 6:53 PM / 3 years ago

Yemen's ousted president Hadi calls for Houthis to quit capital

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen’s ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called on the Houthi militia which overran Sanaa in September to quit the city, in a statement read out by al-Jazeera news channel, his first since escaping house arrest and fleeing to Aden on Saturday.

A man looks through a barricade around the house of Yemen's former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa February 21, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

His statement was delivered under the title of president, implying Hadi has rescinded the resignation he made to parliament last month after the Houthis stormed his private residence, and which was never formally accepted by parliament.

He said he was committed to a 2012 transition plan, which aimed at moving to democracy after ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh quit following street protests. And he described the Houthis’ seizure of Sanaa as tantamount to a coup.

He called on the Houthis to release senior officials of his government from house arrest and sought a new meeting of the country’s “national dialogue”, also part of the political transition designed to bring together political, regional, religious and tribal factions to craft a new constitution.

He said the meeting could be in either Aden or Taiz, cities not under the militia’s control.

Hadi had proposed a draft constitution last month based on that process but the Houthis rejected it.

Reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by David Holmes

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