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YEMEN’S NORTH SHUNNING PEACE EFFORTS

SHARE YEMEN’S NORTH SHUNNING PEACE EFFORTS

Hours before a U.N. envoy was to arrive, Yemen's northern president defiantly warned Wednesday that efforts by Arab countries and the United Nations to end the five-week civil war would only prolong it.

In his first news conference since the U.N. Security Council endorsed a cease-fire resolution last week, President Ali Abdullah Saleh criticized Saudi Arabia and others in the region for dragging the United Nations into the conflict."We didn't wish to see the tremendous efforts by our brothers . . . to mobilize the Security Council," he said at the presidential palace in the north's capital, San'a. "This situation will prolong the period of conflict."

His statement came as U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian, was due to arrive in Yemen to discuss last week's cease-fire resolution.

Saleh did not say whether he would meet Brahimi to discuss the resolution, which calls for a truce, a weapons embargo and a fact-finding mission.

But Saleh ruled out international observers, which is apparently among the south's wishes, calling it "a flagrant interference in our internal affairs." Yemen's civil war erupted May 4, shearing apart a 4-year-old merger of conservative North Yemen and avowedly socialist South Yemen.

Two weeks later, Vice President Ali Salem al-Beidh, a southerner, announced the south's independence, seeking to break up the nation of 14 million into two states again. His state has not been recognized internationally.

Since the conflict broke out, the breakaway south has sought international mediation to help end the war peacefully.

But Saleh has rejected outside intervention and only appeared to embrace the U.N. resolution after his forces became bogged down in their advance on the southern stronghold of Aden.