Yemen President reshuffles cabinet ‘to smooth differences’ with PM

Reshuffle is mainly to replace Riad Yassin

DUBAI - Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi reshuffled his cabinet Tuesday, naming new foreign and interior ministers following signs of discord within the government of the war-torn country.
The shakeup comes as anti-rebel forces struggle to push Iran-backed Huthi insurgents out of the southwestern province of Taez, seen as key to retaking the capital Sanaa.
Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, who leads a team of government peace negotiators, will replace Riad Yassin as foreign minister, the Saba state news agency reported.
The replacement of Yassin, who is said to have good relations with Hadi but not with Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, is understood to be aimed at smoothing relations between the president and the premier.
"The reshuffle is mainly to replace Yassin who had differences with Bahah," a source close to the prime minister said.
Among other changes, General Hussein Arab was appointed interior minister, replacing General Abdo al-Huzeifi who will lead the country's intelligence services, Saba said citing presidential decrees.
Hadi returned to the southern city of Aden last month from exile in Riyadh where he fled in late March as the Huthis closed in.
Pro-Hadi forces backed by an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia retook control of Aden from the rebels in July, followed by four other southern provinces.
But they have faced fierce resistance in their bid to wrest back control of Taez province and break a siege of loyalists holed up in its provincial capital.
The United Nations says more than 5,700 people have been killed in the fighting since March, nearly half of them civilians.