SANAA: Yemen's Shiite rebel leaders announced today that they will form a Cabinet in 10 days as mediated talks with the country's internationally recognized government hit an impasse in the Gulf nation of Oman.
The country's major political parties dismissed the move and didn't attend the press conference at Sanaa, where it was announced.
"No one will recognize this Cabinet," said spokesman Rageh Badie of the internationally recognized Yemen government, exiled in neighboring Saudi Arabia. "It is a suicidal move."
A day earlier, the mediated talks were halted after the rebels, known as Houthis, offered to hand over their positions to "the military," without giving details or specifying which military, pro-government officials said.
Yemen has been torn by fighting between the Houthis allied with army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against military forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The conflict has killed over 2,100 civilians, according to the United Nations.
The Houthis had also requested that their fighters be accepted into the Yemeni army, Houthi officials said.
Pro-government officials said the request hindered the talks further.
"The (Houthis) also said they will cooperate with the U.N., but then didn't mention the U.N. resolution at all," one pro-government official complained. That resolution obliges the Houthis to withdraw from areas they seized and surrender weapons they took from military and state institutions.
The exiled government, the official said, not only rejected the Houthis' "vague" offer, but they have also set forth a new condition for peace: the Houthis' chief leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, must make a televised appearance recognizing the Hadi government.
Houthi officials described the government's new condition as "crippling" for prospects of reaching an agreement.
All officials requested anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters.