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Nation

Yemen rebels given 48 hours to accept peace timetable

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SANAA (AFP) - A committee overseeing a Qatari-brokered deal supposed to end a Shiite rebellion in Yemen on laid out a 20-day implementation timetable and gave the rebels 48 hours to accept it.

The committee, which groups political parties represented in the Yemeni parliament, agreed during a meeting with Qatari mediators on the panel that the proposed timetable is "final, binding and not open to amendment," the official Saba news agency reported.

Both local authorities in northwest Saada province, site of the rebellion by members of the minority Zaidi community that claimed thousands of lives, and rebel leader Abdul Malak al-Huthi were given 48 hours to announce they will abide by the timetable, Saba said.

The timetable stipulates a phased withdrawal of rebels from various locations where the fighting has taken place and their replacement by army regulars.

The process would be accompanied by the gradual release of rebels held by the authorities and culminate in the departure of the leaders of the revolt to exile in Qatar.

The rebel commanders due to go to Qatar at the end of the 20-day process were named as Abdul Malak al-Huthi, his brother Abdul Karim al-Huthi and Abdullah al-Razami.

The committee last month accused the rebels of breaching the deal brokered by Qatar in June, and the Gulf Arab state subsequently recalled its mediators from the committee, reportedly due to wrangling among insurgency leaders.

Under the deal, the rebels agreed to lay down their arms, ending years of fierce fighting that has killed thousands in one of the world's poorest countries.

Huthi and other rebel leaders would be exiled to Qatar, where they will be prohibited from engaging in any political or media activities against Yemen.

They will also be barred from leaving the emirate without permission from the Yemeni government, according to an official account of the agreement.

The rebels are to surrender their weapons to the government which is to take control of the restive Saada region and, with financial help from gas-rich Qatar, rebuild areas battered by the fighting.

The government will also free those rebels in custody who have not already been charged or put on trial.

The rebels are referred to as "Huthis" after their slain commander, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi, Abdul Malak's brother, who was killed by the army in September 2004.

They battled with the aim of restoring the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a 1962 republican coup.

An offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Zaidis are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority in the northwest.

vuukle comment

ABDUL KARIM

ABDUL MALAK

GULF ARAB

HUSSEIN BADR EDDIN

HUTHI

HUTHI AND ABDULLAH

QATARI

REBELS

SAADA

SABA

SHIITE ISLAM

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