Yemen president hands powers to new leadership council

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Yemen’s exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has transferred his powers to a new presidential council, in a major political shake-up that took place as efforts to end the country’s years-long war gained traction with a fragile two-month truce.

“I irreversibly delegate to this presidential leadership council my full powers,” Hadi said in a televised statement early on Thursday, the final day of peace talks held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a military coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognised government against the Houthi rebels.

Hadi added that the council would be tasked with negotiating with the Houthi rebels “for a permanent ceasefire”.

He also sacked Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a powerful military figure, and delegated al-Ahmar’s powers to the presidential council. Al-Ahmar is resented by the Houthis for past military campaigns in their northern stronghold and by southerners for his leading role in the country’s 1994 north-south civil war.