Top Yemen Shiite rebel welcomes UN peace talks
Mohammed al-Houthi, center, who heads the Houthi rebels - AP

SANAA: The second-in-command of Yemen’s Shiite rebels has assailed Saudi-led airstrikes targeting his fighters but insists they are ready to travel to Geneva for U.N.-mediated peace talks on resolving the country’s crisis.

Mohammed al-Houthi, who heads the Houthi rebels’ powerful Revolutionary Council, spoke to The Associated Press near the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Wednesday.

He also criticized Yemen’s exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, saying he had obstructed negotiations by demanding the Houthis first withdraw from territory they captured, including Sanaa, in their months-long power grab.

Al-Houthi says Hadi’s conditions were “obstructing” dialogue.

A presidential aide said late Tuesday that Hadi was also willing to participate in the Geneva talks. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to brief reporters, did not mention any conditions.

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